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The Art of Electricity Transmission

2011 May 31
by Dan Staley

< Winner of the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition >

As a function of the work I’m doing now, I’m reading energy trade magazines. EV World recently announced still another power pylon design competition in Europe. Did you know that several European countries have developed or are developing artistic standards for high-voltage transmission towers? That’s right: France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Britain, Germany, and Iceland are in some stage of development and implementation of projects to rid their countryside of this ubiquitous visual blight.

< Italian design competition winner >

Here in Colorado, public and private protest over a transmission line to carry electricity generated from solar power in the San Luis Valley effectively delayed development of an industrial solar facility there. Can you imagine how many fewer protests there would be if our electricity infrastructure was actually attractive? What does this tell us about the priority of quality of life in other societies?


Dan Staley is an urban planner specializing in green infrastructure on Colorado’s Front Range.