Duke Energy Florida implements bird-friendly power line design pilot program

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Duke Energy Florida has developed a pilot program featuring a power line design that minimizes risks to birds.

These improvements range from rebuilding the horizontal power lines to be vertical or stacked, to replacing poles to achieve adequate spacing. The redesigned elements will help prevent birds from getting in between lines and from perching and building nests on electrical lines and poles.

The changes will also help strengthen the grid and improve service and reliability. The avian pilot program is part of more than $500 million in system upgrades and improvements Duke Energy Florida is making this year to improve service and protect wildlife.

The company began the avian pilot program, which is currently being deployed on approximately 50 miles of distribution lines in Polk County, Fla., following an extensive data analysis.

Duke Energy Florida has been building new lines and retrofitting structures based on a comprehensive avian protection plan that’s been in place since 2009. Through the new avian pilot program, however, the company is proactively targeting full lengths of power lines that were constructed before 2011 and others that may have a greater risk to birds, such as lines that are close to fish farms.

The power line design and building processes are based on recommendations from the Avian Powerline Interaction Committee and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Duke Energy has made a visible difference in avian protection on distribution systems through retrofitting and has been a key partner in enabling local Audubon chapters to make a difference, too,” said Barbara Walker, Audubon Florida board member, Gulf Coast Region.

The pilot program, which is expected to be completed early next year, will be used as a baseline for developing additional programs throughout other Duke Energy Florida service areas, as needed.

“Duke Energy Florida has invested nearly $2.4 billion to harden and upgrade our system since the 2004 hurricanes to improve service reliability and reduce the length and number of outages our customers experience year round,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida. “We are also dedicated to being good stewards of the environment, so it’s especially fulfilling when these improvements benefit the environment and local wildlife.”

Duke Energy Florida also recently announced awarding nearly $450,000 in grants to 12 Florida-based environmental organizations through its foundation. The grants will fund environmental projects, as well as educational and research programs throughout the state. The largest grant, totaling $150,000, was awarded to the Audubon of Florida’s “Water for Florida’s Future” and “Eagle Eyes for the Environment” programs.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida owns and operates a diverse generation mix, including renewables, providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. It supplies and delivers electricity to approximately 7.4 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. The company also distributes natural gas to more than 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its commercial and international businesses operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing renewable energy portfolio.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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