Maintaining the miles upon miles of transmission towers that bring electricity to our towns is never an easy task, considering the sheer size and amount of towers to contend with. But the elements are not ones to make this job easier, especially when strong winds end up bringing a tree or two down on these wires.
Such a problem has always been a concern for Eversource Energy, one of the major providers of electricity and natural gas in New England, which is why they have been working hard as of late to put together a variety of projects to trim down or remove problematic trees along the right-of-way of these towers. One such project was recently brought before the Londonderry Conservation Commission during their October 24 meeting at Town Hall.
Kurt Nelson, a Project Sitting and Permitting Specialist for Eversource, served as the representative for the company during the meeting. According to Nelson, they are currently in the process of trying to gain proper permission to undertake what he describes as a reliability and reclamation project that would help maintain vegetation within the transmission tower corridor that extends westward from Scobie Pond into Manchester.
Although these corridors are typically very well maintained, there have been issues in this particular corridor, including several blackouts that have led to legal issues for Eversource in the past. Thus, maintenance in this area is considered incredibly urgent.
“The program’s goal is to prevent tree-caused outages”, Nelson noted.
However, in order to achieve the necessary one hundred foot gap between the towers and trees, not only will tree removal be required, but so will substantial dredging and filling of several acres of wetlands in the area; some which will be permanent and some which will be temporary, leading to replacement down the road.
Eversource will be working closely with the Department of Environment Science and the Army Corps in order to follow proper safety and conservation standards in the process of the project, but they are expected to remove almost five acres worth of wetlands, most of which will be permanent.
“This is one of our more sizeable projects”, Nelson stated.
Although the project has no official start date or date of completion as of yet, members of the commission were rather apprehensive about the project. Member Deborah Lievens, in particular, questioned why the project needed to be pushed forward so quickly and whether or not it would be possible to avoid vernal pools.