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AEP wins award for efforts to make transmission corridors pollinator-friendly

image credit: © American Electric Power

Proposed transmission projects often garner opposition from environmentalists because of the corridors that must be created for them.

It would seem, therefore, that one way to reduce that opposition is to make the corridors environmentally important.

American Electric Power recently won an award for doing just that.

The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, which is managed by a San Francisco-based nonprofit called Pollinator Partnership, recently bestowed the 2020 Pollinator Electric Power Award on AEP for its leadership in pollinator-friendly projects.

The Columbus, Ohio-based utility is studying replacing traditional grasses with native vegetation when it does transmission line upgrades to establish and maintain prairie habitat in the lines’ corridors. One of the corridors in which it has done this is pictured above.

In one major research effort, AEP is collaborating with the nonprofit Dawes Arboretum (near Newark, Ohio) to create a biodiverse prairie habitat along a transmission line right-of-way. The utility says the approach may be a cost-effective way to fulfill its vegetation management requirements while significantly improving the ecological value of the habitat.

In some areas, transmission corridors may not require that kind of effort to be an environmental plus. In an article published a year ago, two University of Connecticut researchers said power line corridors that cut through forests in New England play an ecologically important role in the region by sustaining “native animals and migrating birds and insects including dozens of bees, one of which is so rare it was thought to have been lost decades ago from the United States.”

The article is something Avangrid should consider citing in its struggle to get the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project built. One reason some environmentalists oppose the project is because it would cut through 53 miles of working forest in western Maine.

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