Substations: landscape guidelines for site selection, design, construction and maintenance : this study [dissertation] is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Diploma of Landscape Architecture, Lincoln College, University of Canterbury
Most of New Zealand's facilities for the bulk generation and transmission of electricity are owned and operated by New Zealand Electricity, a division of the Ministry of Energy. Facilities include generating stations, high-voltage transmission lines and substations which function either as switching station, points of supply, or both. Power is delivered in bulk to points of supply, where the voltage is stepped down, and it is sold to the local supply authority for distribution to consumers. A continuous and reliable supply of electricity is of great benefit to the community, however, there are considerable costs incurred in its production. As well as the economic costs of constructing and operating power facilities, there are social costs incurred through impacts to the environment. Substations, through their construction and continued presence in the landscape can cause damage in a variety of ways. Potential impacts include displacement and disruption of other land uses, erosion, alteration or destruction of wildlife habitat, and visual intrusion. Whereas other impacts are usually localised in extent, visual impacts are consistently a problem. The substation with its industrial character is regarded as a dectracting element in most landscape settings. It is evident that the most signficiant decisions regarding impacts to the landscape are made during site selection and it is at this stage of the planning process that the best opportunities to minimise impacts are found. The best overall planning decisions will be achieved where visual, ecological and land use factors are considered alongside economic and technical ones, as an integral part of the site selection process. Important objectives in this process will be to avoid landscapes which have high visual and productive values, to avoid situations in which structures receive undue emphasis e.g. prominent positions, or sites viewed by large numbers of the public, and to take advantage of opportunities such as the presence of marginal or inactive land, or areas with·good possibilities for screening. Site selection and site planning have traditionally been carried out by engineering personnel, although in recent years the Division's landscape architects have contributed in an increasing number of projects. Opportunities for compatible siting and design have not always been fully utilised, and it has become evident that the landscape issues which are relevant for consideration in substation planning require thorough and detailed analysis by specialist personnel. This study examines the benefits which can result from the increased involvement of landscape architectural staff in all stages of substation planning, from site selection, site layout and design and planning of construction operations, through to supervision of routine site maintenance.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordssubstation site planning; landscape architecture; urban design; urban landscape; power facilities; environmental impact; transmission line routes; industrial landscapes
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