Will our infrastructure of power lines and poles need to be replaced any time soon?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is a very good question. The current US power grid is a complicated system of electricity transmission lines stretching across the nation, operated by about 500 power companies. Because it’s such a vast system with so many parts, whether one particular line or pole needs to be replaced depends on the conditions in that specific place, what the line or pole is constructed out of and how long it’s been there. I couldn’t find an average “life span” of a typical overhead high voltage power cable, but it’s my understanding that some lines installed as early as the 1960s are still operating today, although they do eventually wear out. “Cable rejuvenation” is a technique being touted to extend the life span of power lines for up to 40 more years, which offers power companies a significant savings since overhead power lines are difficult and expensive to replace. (Of course a power line’s life span may be cut short by some physical damage, like breaking in an ice storm or being blown down in a hurricane). As near as I can tell the average life span of a telephone pole is about 40 years. Steel power line towers would survive significantly longer than that.

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