Costing the environmental impact of an electricity pylon

 

In order to make sensible comparisons between the cost of removing the environmental impact of a pylon by (say) burying the cable and the environmental impact itself, we need to be able to quantify the environmental impact of a pylon in £’s. This seemingly difficult task can be done. The Government has already decided to place the wind farms at sea at extra cost on environmental grounds. From this we can calculate the value in £’s of the environmental impact of a wind turbine. By scaling this for a somewhat smaller pylon we can calculate the value of the environmental impact of a pylon.


We are indebted to Adam Sedgwick of The Dedham Vale Society for this calculation. If you are not too keen on maths then perhaps we should tell you that the answer he arrives at which is £3.1 million per pylon. This would put a minimum value on the environmental impact of a line of pylons between Bramford and Twinstead of around £170 million.


Here is how Adam arrived at the figure of £3.1 million per pylon:-


Environment value of offshore wind


Offshore wind power costs double onshore wind power. The only justification for incurring this is to avoid the environmental detriment of onshore wind turbines. Implicitly, therefore, the environmental detriment of onshore wind turbines exceeds the excess cost of offshore wind power. The environmental detriment of onshore wind turbines is analogous to that of pylons. So the excess cost of offshore wind power can give us a measure of (a lower limit to) the environmental detriment of pylons.