This job is for the birds

The Pincher Creek Voice

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Toni Lucas

“Our field guys are amazing at what they do, and they love it,” said AltaLink Communications Advisor Shawn Roth. We contacted him after two citizens sent in pictures of helicopters flying close to the towers in the Summerview area near the Oldman River Dam over the past 3 days. Crews were also working on the Fidler Substation and Transmission Line project, where construction is expected to be completed this summer.

“It’s pretty neat to see what the field crew guys actually do,” said Roth, explaining that the helicopter crew was installing bird flight diverters. “That’s the yellow coil you can see in the pictures. The one you can see in that picture is a little larger than the typical bird flight diverters. The purpose of the bird flight diverters is to increases the visibility of the overhead shield wire, making it easier for the bird to see and maneuver around. The overhead shield wire is typically where we see bird collisions.” This line has no electricity going through it and is used to protect the system from lightning strikes. Roth explained that this line is thinner and less visible to the birds, and strung from the top of the structure. The diverters are being placed at about every 10 metres.

Roth explained about some of there environmental initiatives. “We have an avian protection program. We have nesting programs for birds, we relocate nests if we think they’re in an unsafe place, and these bird diverters are part of our avian protection plan. We have a thing called greenjacket which is really cool. Greenjacket is basically on new substations.” These are covers that prevent the possibility of electrocution. “We want to make our system as safe as we possibly can, for everybody.”
To find out more about the AltaLink aviation protection plans click here.