Power Line Insulation

Power Line Insulation

Campaigning for underground power lines and funding the insulation of existing overground power lines.

Virtually all of the power lines in Costa Rica are aerial (running above ground, along the sides of the roads) and are poorly insulated (with bare aluminium conductors). Any animals living in the trees can simply climb down onto the lines from the overhanging canopy.

There are more than 3000 wildlife electrocutions every single year in Costa Rica, and the country is thought to have lost approximately 50% of its arboreal mammal populations as a result (Sánchez 2007).

 

power line sloth

 

Over half of the electrocuted animals are sloths, and the mortality rate following an electrocution is about 70%. Typically, this stems from multi-organ failure after the animal’s core body temperature soars to over 43°C.

If the sloth somehow survives beyond the initial electrocution, the rehabilitation process usually involves the amputation of limbs which leaves the individual unable to return to the wild.

The only long-term solution to prevent wildlife electrocutions in the future is to bury the power lines underground. This process is extraordinarily costly, lengthy, and requires the agreement of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).

A more affordable and rapid solution is to insulate the existing electricity lines, poles, and transformers that are currently without insulation. In order to do this, we are funding the raw materials necessary by providing grants to affiliating organizations.

wildlife electrocution
Insulating a transformer in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica

 

Costs of insulation

  • Transformer: $250
  • Pole with single-phase mounting: $180
  • 1 kilometer of single-phase line: $2000
  • Pole with three-phase mounting: $500
  • 1 kilometer of a three-phase line: $6000