Better Towers for Northern Pass

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The most frequent objection to the Northern Pass is that the transmission towers will be an eyesore.  The Economist magazine is reporting an important redesign of these transmission towers which may help soften some of this criticism:Transmission Line Pylon

A PYLON is supposed to be a beautiful thing. In ancient Egypt, pairs of tapering stone towers called pylons marked the entrances of temples. Christian architects borrowed the idea for the twin towers above the façades of many Gothic cathedrals. Whoever thought of appropriating the word for the ugly metal-lattice structures that carry high-tension power lines over the countryside was therefore guilty of both a public-relations triumph and an act of etymological vandalism. The latter, however, may soon be redeemed. The latest generation of electricity pylons are, in the eyes of some, at least, things of beauty in their own right.

The pylons in question have been designed by engineers at TenneT, the firm that runs the Netherlands’ national electricity grid, in collaboration with KEMA, a Dutch research company. Instead of a single lattice tower, the cables are supported by two elegant steel poles up to 65 metres high. There are no arms. The six cables that pass from one pylon to another are each borne by two insulators attached to the poles. The resulting arrangement, though hardly invisible, is reasonably elegant . . .

In truth, of course, no pylon is ever going to be a more attractive feature of the countryside than no pylon. But if pylons have to be built—which they do—then something elegant and efficient is the least bad way of doing it.

I hope someone at Hydro Quebec and/or Public Service of New Hampshire reads The Economist.

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