BulkTransmission/Social Values

From Open Energy Information

Transmission Social Values

Social Values
Present, Potentially Affected

  • DOE-EA-1759 (EA for Geothermal/Exploration at Southwest Alaska Regional Geothermal Energy Project Naknek, Alaska)
  • DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091 (Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA (EA for Airborne Electromagnetic Survey at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010–2012–0005–EA (EA for Development Drilling at New York Canyon Geothermal Utilization and Interconnect Project for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Transmission, Geothermal/Well Field)
  • NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line (Environmental Impact Statement for the Sun Valley to Morgan Transmission Line Project)
  • Vantage Pomona Heights (Environmental Impact Statement for the Vanage to Pomona Heights 230kV Transmission Line Project)

Social values address factors that are more difficult to quantify such as environmental justice, beliefs, attitudes, and human equality standards. There are evaluations, assessments and legislation that incorporate these factors to enable fairness. In regards to Environmental Justice, Executive Order 12898 requires, “each Federal agency shall make achieving Environmental Justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low¬ income populations.”

To promote collaborative dialogue between industry and community, utility companies typically conduct surveys to gather proposed site development perceptions.. The results can guide land use planning and education if perceived risks do not align with the actual risks. Three common categories used for evaluation are: lifestyle, culture; and community setting and aesthetics. Amongst these three, lifestyle is the most important. Reducing impacts to lifestyles can gain community acceptance and trust.


Social Values Impacts & Mitigation

Social impacts can last generations. Transmission line and ancillary facility construction can impact indigenous communities in a variety of ways, including removal and resettlement from ancestral homes, destruction or damage of important cultural sites, and the opening of previously remote areas to commerce and interactions with outsiders. Processes to change attitudes, compromise, and gain community acceptance can happen by identifying typical mitigation measures:

Fair compensation

  • Compensate landowners at a fair market value if during project construction and operation, crops, irrigation systems, livestock, or land are damaged.
  • Repairs or reimbursement is also acceptable.


  • Use socioeconomic surveys to understand the culture before site selection to gauge the aptitude towards transmission line development.
  • Meeting with stakeholders to create dialogue is the best way to understand expectations and provide alternative solutions.


  • Assess transmission line barriers and benefits to stakeholders. Typical benefits may include electricity reliability, efficiency, and power stability.
  • These three factors motivate economic steadiness, as businesses and landowners alike want the grid’s low rates and high dependability.
  • Communities seek industries that can boost their economy, therefore, choose an area where transmission line construction and operation can accomplish those goals.
  • Barriers to transmission line development may include industry competition. This may or may not negatively affect the local economy.