More Power, But Not From My Backyard

Eve Ann Shwartz's family has owned their farm since 1940. The 1,200 acres rests in the heart of New York state's cattle country and is surrounded by pristine panoramas.

But, as Michelle Miller reports, a private developer for utility companies may alter that view as the price of progress.

It plans to string 200 miles of high-voltage power wires – and 135 foot towers – through some 70 towns.

Those power lines would carry enough electricity to power a million homes in the southern part of the state where it's needed most.

That, however, is no consolation on the farm.

"There is no economic benefit to our community," Shwartz said. "It's going to destroy our community."

This plan is just one of many across the country facing opposition from homeowners. An obstacle to improving the nation's power grid which has become overtaxed as Americans use more power than ever.

Harvard University's Ashley Brown says more transmission lines need to be built to alleviate bottlenecks in delivering electricity from power plants to customers.

"The power grid system is in a need of a lot of investment," she said.

But, utilities have been resistant to upgrade because of cost.

"Some utilities have seen it in their competitive interest not to invest in the grid so as to preserve their own economic power locally," Brown said.

Over the next decade, power use is expected to jump 20 percent compared with a 6 percent rise in construction of high voltage transmission lines.

Residents like Eve Ann Shwartz, who live in smaller communities, say they shouldn't have to make the sacrifice to provide power to other areas.

"It's not solving the overall problem," Shwartz said. "It really hasn't addressed the fundamentals that we need to have more generation closer to the places that are growing and that need it."

That's a plan that would likely to face opposition from residents in those communities as well.
  • James Klatell

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter