Overhead power transmission lines cause external costs including aesthetic impacts on the landscape. We use the contingent valuation method to estimate the external costs from these aesthetic impacts, and find that the social benefits of avoiding these negative impacts on the landscape exceed the costs of burying the lines as underground cables. Our best-estimate of the aesthetic benefits from burying the power lines was three times as large as the cost. These conclusions were based only on an assessment of the aesthetic impacts. Impacts of overhead power lines on wildlife and human health would likely make burial of power lines even more attractive. These results were obtained in an urban setting. Additional studies are needed to assess the costs associated with aesthetic impacts in rural and pristine natural areas, where power line construction is increasing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- General Environmental Science
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law