In all developed countries the power transmission lines create a huge grid when seen from above.
In Denmark it was decided in 2008 to plow the transmission lines into the ground, whenever possible. Visually, they are not nice to look at and there were concerns about EMF and cancer. Furthermore, there has been problems with big birds being roasted on the power lines because they could not see them. The swan is our national bird in Denmark and a few years back there were some incidents where around 100 swans were killed all over Denmark.
[A more peculiar incident was, when a guy went into a field, up a hill – where the power lines were only a few metres above ground – and used a long metal pole to touch the lines. He also got roasted… one of the strangest ways to commit suicide I’ve ever heard of.]
Anyway, last year it was decided the power grid should be extended with a 400 kV and a 150 kV line in western Denmark. The west is a harsh, beautiful landscape and without many larger towns and cities. It was decided to make overhead lines and not underground lines as promised.
Suddenly economics and technical challenges were taken into the overall consideration. The people living where the power transmission lines will go were deeply saddened and frustrated.
I fully understand that society needs more power. Google, Apple and Facebook are all building huge data centres in Denmark over the next years all in Jutland. The industry consumes more power and we all do at home too. Long distance power transmission is a necessity for further development.
But, I also fully understand those who do not want to look at a power line, less live close to one. Some people settled down in small villages or bought a house or hobby farm in the countryside because of the nature and the undisturbed view you have there.
There are also huge bird migration routes in the west, where 12-15 million birds migrate every year.
Ground lines are up to 10 times more costly to install and repair. However, overhead lines are broken more often by trees and machinery and create direct hazards with ice and falling lines. Thus, service costs are in general lower on underground lines.
Right now the discussion goes on. The decision has been made by the power suppliers and the parliament, however strong citizens protests on social media has given new hope for another solution. We all pay for this (via taxes) and I do it gladly, if the power lines will be underground.
Some years ago the existing transmission grid was extended in our area too (see above photo) and they are not nice to look at.