KIUC to Install Endangered Species Protection Devices
LED diverter

LED diverter

Reflective diverter

Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) will continue work that began in 2020 installing devices on electrical transmission and distribution lines designed to protect endangered seabirds from striking lines while in flight.

“We began using drones to install bird diverters on transmission line spans in remote areas last year,” explains John Cox, KIUC’s Transmission and Distribution Manager. Line spans are the horizontal distance between two electrical supports (e.g., wood poles, steel towers). KIUC is using reflective and LED diverters on its spans. “Reflective diverters are small devices that glow in the dark and help Newell’s shearwater, Hawaiian petrel and Band-rumped storm petrel avoid power lines as they fly mauka to makai after dark. LED diverters use a small solar panel that charges during the day and produces light that’s visible to birds throughout the evening.”

KIUC installed reflective diverters on 109 spans in 2020 and expects to complete installation of both reflective and LED diverters on an additional 628 spans where strikes are most likely to occur by the end of 2021.

“Residents and motorists may notice crews using drones to install the diverters,” said KIUC’s Engineering and Technology Manager Cameron Kruse. He added that installation crews will minimize disruption to traffic while the work is taking place.

KIUC’s bird diverters are passive, with no electronic output, and they do not collect data.

LED diverters are being used in remote areas of the island, while the reflective type will be closer to residential areas, commercial districts and public roadways.