Project "Life for Safe Grid"




The project "Life for Safe Grid" is financed by the LIFE+ Programme of the European Union. The official and complete name of the project is "Enhance conservation of the globally threatened Imperial Eagle in Bulgaria by reducing mortality caused by power lines" (life 12 NAT/BG/000572). The acronym in English in the official documentation is "Life for safe grid".
 

The project is implemented by the distribution company in Southeastern Bulgaria EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie in partnership with the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB).
 

EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie has received European Commission’s approval for financing of the "Life for Safe Grid" in July 2013. This is the first time a LIFE+ programme is financing an infrastructure company in Bulgaria.



The scheduled duration of the project implementation is five years: 2013 – 2018 г.
 

The project takes place in eight protected areas within the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria: "Adata – Tundzha" (within the Sliven and Yambol regions), "Derventski Heights" and "Madzharovo" (in Haskovo region), "Sakar" (in the Haskovo and Yambol regions), "Arda Bridge" (in the Kardzhali and Haskovo regions), "Western Strandzha" (in the Burgas and Yambol regions), "Sinite Kamani (the Blue Rocks) – Grebenets" and "Kamenski Bair (Kamenski Hill)" (in Sliven region).

 

Project Objectives

The long term objective of the “Life for Safe Grid” project is to increase the population of the globally endangered Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) in Bulgaria, which is located within the licensed territory of EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie in the south-eastern part of the country. In order to support the achievement of the long-term objective within this project, the following auxiliary objectives have been set:

  • Increased awareness of the risk for the Imperial Eagle, associated with the electricity infrastructure.
  • Reduction of the fatalities of the imperial eagle, as a result of electric shocks and collisions with the electricity distribution grids in the most important Natura 2000 areas in Bulgaria.
  • Enhancement of the capacity for solving the conflict between the birds and the electricity distribution grid in Bulgaria.
  • Raising the awareness of the general public and the interested parties, regarding the conflict between the power lines and the imperial eagle, as well as other bird species.
     

As an additional effect, the project will achieve enhanced security of the power supply to the customers, as a part of the technical activities, involving the grid, in the habitats of the imperial eagle.

 

Project activities:

Cabling of electricity transmission lines. The cabling of the electricity transmission lines consists of construction works, where the overhead transmission lines are inserted below ground. Within the “Life for Safe Grid“ project, two 20 kV overhead transmission lines (TL) have been transformed into underground lines. These are Nadezhda TL and Oreshnik TL with a total length of 50 km, situated within the Topolovgrad Municipality. The area is positioned within the special protected area "Sakar". This measure will eliminate one of the main threats for the imperial eagles and their offspring in this area.
 

Construction of a PAS System. The PAS system is an insulated conductor line along the whole length of the transmission line. The objective of this type of conductor is to protect the birds against electric shocks in case of contact with the exposed surface of the line. Within this activity under the "Life for Safe Grid" project, a covered conductor line will be installed on the 20 KV "Balgarin" transmission line in the Harmanli Municipality, with a total length of 15 km. The area is situated within the special protected area "Sakar".

 

Installation of Protective Insulations. The protective insulations are special plastic products, installed on top of the electricity pole, covering the parts of the conductors on both sides of the pole. These devices are made of insulation material in order to protect the birds against the voltage, which may occur as a result of the simultaneous contact of the birds with the conductors and the earthed part of the pole. This activity involves a preliminary identification of the high-risk poles within the electricity distribution grid in the areas, inhabited by the Imperial eagle. The data from previous investigations of BSPB and the GIS database, developed under this project will be combined. The Information will enable the precise determination of the exact number and type of the poles, which will be insulated within the project. The high-risk poles will be insulated within a 5 km radius from all the newly built Imperial eagles’ nests. Within this project, EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie is planning to insulate 2,740 poles.

 

Activities for the Preservation of the Imperial Eagle. In order to assess the results of the environmental protection measures within this project, a monitoring of the nesting populations of the Imperial eagle will also take place. All the known nesting areas of the Imperial Eagles (25 as of the beginning of 2014) will be visited three times a year for a period of 5 years. The first annual visit will aim at determine the presence in the area in the beginning of the nesting season. The second visit – to determine the incubation and inhabitancy for young couples. The third visit – to register the number of successfully nesting birds. An inspection of the electricity transmission lines will be performed during these visits, in order to determine the relief and the types of poles. The known bird fatalities will also be recorded. At the end of the project, a monitoring of the efficiency of the isolated conductors (the PAS system) and of the insulations, installed on the poles, will take place.

 

Communication Activities and Events. A number of communication activities will take place within the “Life for Safe Grid” project in order to increase public awareness of the project. Among them will be seminars for sharing good practices from Bulgaria and abroad, media relations, dissemination of print materials, preparation of informational signboards and construction of project web site.

 

"Life for Safe Grid" is a continuation of the long-term support, provided by EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie for BSPB’s LIFE+ project “Conservation of the Imperial Eagle and the saker falcon in their key habitats within the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria“. You can find more about this finalized project on its website at http://www.saveraptors.org.
 

For more information about the project "LIFE for Safe Grid", please see the project web site