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Current Affairs

Power Ministry to issue guidelines for green cables

Date: 18 March 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Union Power Ministry and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are working on greener options in electricity transmission cables as alternative to widely used lead based cables. Soon the ministry will release guidelines aimed at increasing use of aluminium to protect environment from the ill-effects of lead-based power transmission cables. Aluminium-based cable sheaths are greener and cheaper compared to lead.

Need for greener cables

  • According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, 240 million people globally are overexposed to lead poisoning.
  • Electricity transmission cables having Lead are environmental hazard and poisonous.
  • Lead-based metallic sheath are used in power cables for earthing and anti-corrosion purposes contributes to 35-48% of weight of cables.
  • Single kilometer of cable, which weighs around 20 tonne/km has lead content of almost 8 tonne/km.
  • The underground power cables have average life span of 25-30 years and once they are laid they are never dismantled.
  • Lead from these underground cables seep into soil, water-tables and ecosystem adding to environmental damage.

Way Forward

The manufacturers of lead-based power cables also have capability to manufacture non-lead-based alternatives. But currently, there is no push for greener options due to lack of government directive on this. Power cable manufacturers need to be encouraged for innovating more and proved alternatives as rugged and reliable as lead sheathed cables.