Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) marked a milestone in grid resiliency in October when crews, accompanied by helicopters, removed the last wooden transmission poles in Palm Beach County.
FPL team members climbed the wooden poles, located in Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Jupiter, and removed them in sections, with help from helicopters.
Power lines from the wooden poles will now be transferred to new, state-of-the-art concrete poles or undergrounded.
“Transmission systems are essentially the backbone of any electrical grid,” said FPL VP of Transmission and Substation Ed De Varona. “Hardened poles can perform significantly better than wooden poles, they can withstand stronger winds, which helps improve reliability.”
Since the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, FPL has invested significantly in building a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid. This includes replacing wooden transmission structures with steel or concrete, which benefits customers day-to-day and during hurricane season.
Detailed assessments following Hurricane Ian confirmed these investments benefited customers during and after the storm. FPL did not lose a single transmission structure despite the ferocious winds from the high-end Category 4 storm. This led to faster restoration for customers.
“These investments that we’ve made to harden the grid have paid off,” said De Varona. “No system is hurricane proof, but by hardening the grid we were able to restore power back to our customers faster.”
By the end of the year, FPL expects every transmission structure in the company’s peninsular service area to be hardened.