Changed appearance of infrastructure
Landsnet has taken an active part in Nordic and European co-operation to develop new designs of transmission towers and substations in an aim to improve their appearance and minimise their visual impact. Such co-operation includes the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRÉ). The Nordic TSOs have also co-operated in this field. In addition, Landsnet has employed the services of Icelandic architects and engineers to work on such projects.
Since early 2011, we have been working with the Norwegian TSO, Statnett, to develop new transmission tower designs following international design competitions. The objective was to create new designs on which greater consensus could be achieved than with existing ones.
The construction of the first new prototype tower – designed specifically for Icelandic conditions and to blend as seamlessly into the Icelandic landscape as possible – was completed in 2015. The tower will be erected in the first half of 2016 in the town of Hafnarfjörður in the Greater Reykjavík area as part of Landsnet’s new transmission lines extending from the Geitháls substation to Hafnarfjörður. Named “the Ballerina” for its lightness and elegance, this new tower design is far less suggestive of a tree trunk than are conventional transmission towers. The Ballerina is a free-standing tubular tower that narrows towards the top. Its bottommost part is moss green in colour and the topmost part is light blue. The design is well suited to places where space is restricted and the line corridor is narrow.
Another transmission tower design is “the Bird”, which was also submitted in the international competition. This design has also entered production and is scheduled to arrive in Iceland for installation in 2016. The Bird is a guyed tower with two tubes and a crossbar that resembles the wing of a bird – hence the name.
The third tower design from the competition to enter production is the Giant or “Land of Giants” design, which has attracted much attention. The Giant’s preliminary design has been completed and a number of structural load-bearing problems have been solved. The next step will be to complete the detailing and find a location for the tower – the suggestion has been made to place it as a sculpture where power lines traverse a frequently travelled road.
In parallel, the Norwegian TSO, Statnett, has been working on a number of tower designs, including ones made of aluminium and fibres. The low weight of these materials could cut the carbon footprint of transmission towers substantially – one reason for Landsnet to keep a close eye on developments.
A new generation of substations
The design and development of Landsnet’s substations has changed considerably in recent years. Following a design competition held a few years ago, a new generation of indoor substations has emerged, with emphasis on a more attractive appearance and better visual integration with natural surroundings. This is well exemplified by the new substations at Helguvík and Bolungarvík and the planned substations at Bakki, Þeistareykir and Krafla.