The Power Ministry is said to be planning to introduce new reforms to bring in greener options of electricity transmission cables with the use of Aluminium instead of Lead based equipment, to protect the environment from its ill- effects.
Lead based electricity transmission cables are an environmental hazard and are also poisonous.World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 240 Million people worldwide are over exposed to lead poisoning.
Power Ministry & Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are together working on greener options.
Lead based metallic sheath are used in power cables for earthing and anti corrosion purposes. In a cable rated for 66KV-220KV, lead contributes to 35-48% of the weight. For instance, a cable weighing 20 tonne/km has 8 tonne/km equivalent lead content.
An underground cable has an operational lifespan of 25-30 years, and once laid, remains undisturbed for many years. This lead buried underground seeps into the soil and the water table thus, adding to the environmental damage.
Aluminium based cable sheath is greener and cheaper, thus being an obvious choice.
Manufacturers of lead based power cables also have the capability to manufacture non lead based alternatives. They need the encouragement to provide alternatives as rugged and reliable as lead sheathed cable. Currently there is no push for greener options by the State Utilities due to lack of Govt. directives on this issue.