Safety Concerns

With the growth of windfarms in the south west of the Victoria, the need for additional electricity transmission network infrastructure is recognised but the safety, for residents, visitors and animals, over the entire life of the infrastructure, needs to be considered when evaluating the alignment options of overhead high voltage powerlines.

Flight Risk

Flight Risk

In addition to lightning strikes and Infrastructure failures, high voltage power lines and towers also pose a significant safety risk to light planes, helicopters, and recreational aircraft.

Air crashes into overhead power lines can result in loss of human life, injury, damage to property and infrastructure, loss of power supply within the grid and the starting of fires. More than 250 air crashes involving powerlines have been reported across the world between 2000 and 2015 and at least 13 (reported) air crashes to powerlines in Australia between 1998 – 2015. Some examples include powerline strike crashes in Ayr, QLD. (Apr 2010) and in Stanthorpe, QLD. (Oct 2014) which resulted in significant fires. In Wyong, NSW. (Oct 2013), a fire-fighting helicopter brought down power lines resulting in significant power outages.
Interruption to Power Supply

Interruption to Power Supply

Not only do high voltage overhead powerlines and towers increase the risks of fires, electricity transmission network infrastructure itself is easily damaged by fire, resulting in interruptions to power supplies, potentially at critical times.

Overhead high voltage power lines and towers deteriorate from exposure to the weather and are easily damaged by winds and storms. Some examples of failures resulting in large areas with prolonged outages include Perth (May 1994) and Sydney Jan 1991. Recent storms in Cressy VIC., (Feb 2020) brought down 6 high voltage transmission towers and damaged a further 2. The fallen structures, uncontrolled electric currents, and electricity loss to customers, are all potential hazards. In Plumpton Sydney Jan 2019, High Voltage power lines fell onto houses (causing fire) and endangering homes, neighbourhoods and motorists on M7 Freeway.

Residual Risks

Residual Risks

Although less likely, towers, fences, heavy equipment, trailers, pipelines and many other metal structures and products can become electrically energized by unshielded overhead high voltage power lines. These lines and towers are particularly hazardous during lightning storms (NACE International 2005).

When lightning strikes a power line or tower, an electrical fault current flows through the tower and into the ground.  The current is accentuated by any nearby pipelines, thereby creating a significant hazard to the pipeline and/or its coatings resulting in possible failure.  There have also been reports of people living, walking or playing near high voltage power lines having increased susceptibility to fatal electric shocks due to induced currents in metal objects including vehicles, bicycles, metal toys, chain-link and barb wire fences, metal storage sheds, metal-frame patio furniture and many other products.  People have been killed by contact with a pipeline energized by an overhead high voltage power line (Kirkpatrick 1997).

Impact to Rescue Efforts

Impact to Rescue Efforts

The State Forest(s) are used extensively by birdwatchers, nature lovers, bush walkers and is an established practice route for people planning to trek the Kokoda Trail.  People regularly get lost or hurt in the area necessitating the use of the State Emergency Service and helicopters.  Towers located in and around the park would most certainly impact the ability and timeliness of future rescue efforts.  Rescue choppers will often land on the river flats, directly within the northern corridor, to conserve fuel while patients are prepped for extraction from the Lerderderg State Park.

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