Elia avoids noise pollution and takes action if nevertheless such pollution is reported.
During high-voltage power transmission, two types of noise may occur:
- from above-ground high-voltage lines;
- from transformers of a high-voltage substation.
No risks are associated with this noise.
Noise from above-ground hight voltage lines
When it is wet or misty, you can sometimes, but not always, hear a faint hissing sound. This is a result of the ‘corona effect’. The very strong electrical field immediately around the conductors leads to small electrical discharges, which are exacerbated by the damp weather conditions. This noise is easily drowned out by the sound of rainfall.
Noise from high-voltage substations
Transformers have to be outside to ensure they cool off. Transformers in high-voltage substations generate a monotonous noise that can sometimes disturb people in the area.
When new high-voltage substations are built or alterations are made to existing high-voltage substations with transformers, Elia always commissions a noise study. The study includes simulations of the distribution of the noise in relation to the facilities and their configuration. Based on this, changes are made to the project (building noise barriers, installing low-noise transformers, etc.).
Whenever there is a complaint about noise, Elia has a measurement carried out. If the noise level is critical, then a recognised noise expert will investigate what the actual problem is. In accordance with the legal provisions, action will then be taken.
However, this may take some time because in many cases the work that is needed to deal with the noise pollution means that the facilities in question have to be decommissioned. This must not put security of supply at risk.