Transmission lines are the backbone of Tri-State’s power delivery system. Tri-State is continually maintaining, improving, and adding to its transmission system to deliver reliable power to our member systems.
Transmission maintenance and improvements are done in strict accordance with applicable laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Alternative substation sites and transmission line routes are identified and evaluated in a logical, transparent, defensible methodology. After a well-justified purpose and need and project scope are developed, the first step in Tri-State’s transmission corridor identification process is determining a project study area. Criteria to identify areas of opportunities and constraints within the project study area then are developed. These criteria are based on engineering, land-use and environmental factors.
Environmental assessments compiled by Tri-State fully disclose potential environmental effects of the proposed action and project routes. Resources and potential issues for evaluation in the assessment are selected based on constraints within the project study area, in addition to concerns raised during agency and public scoping. Other regulatory areas included in the environmental review involve efforts to identify and protect cultural resources, threatened and endangered species, wetlands, and floodplains.
Tri-State transmission employees are trained to implement work practices to enhance avian protection.
With a long history in proactively addressing avian issues, Tri-State is involved in a number of projects aimed at keeping birds safe around existing power lines.
Tri-State works with federal and state wildlife services to mark critical spans to make power lines more visible to large migratory birds. In addition, the association makes a practice of using perch discouragers and surrogate roosting platforms to shift birds from transmission lines, while still allowing the birds to use the habitat. Identifying avian issues not only protects the species, but also reduces outages thereby improving the region’s electric service reliability.