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EMF

Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) exposure is widespread due to the ubiquitous presence of electric power infrastructure and communications technology, yet it remains a source of public concern. Gradient supports public utilities and renewable energy companies by evaluating the impacts of electric power generation and transmission facilities.

What We Do

  • EMF exposure modeling, measurement, and mitigation
  • EMF human health and ecological effects evaluation
  • Offshore wind power project permitting support
  • Provide testimony at regulatory hearings and in other contexts
  • Presentations to regulatory boards and siting agencies on EMF impacts of electric power transmission/generation facilities
  • Risk communication to stakeholders regarding electric power transmission lines, substations, and other sources of EMF such as broadcast and cell phone towers

Advising Principal Dr. Peter Valberg directs and supports many of the efforts described above.

Projects Examples

Offshore Wind Power Projects.  For multiple offshore wind power projects, Gradient modeled EMF for both submarine and onshore export cables connecting the wind turbine generator arrays to the electrical grid system. Modeling addressed a variety of project design alternatives (e.g., differing in the number of cables, underground versus overhead lines, cable burial depths, duct bank array configurations, etc.). EMF effects were also characterized for marine species and human health. Gradient’s EMF analyses were used to support regulatory filings, and Gradient’s experts testified at regulatory hearings.

Electric Power Transmission Corridors.  Gradient evaluated EMF impacts related to upgrades of overhead and underground transmission lines in CT, MA, MI, MN, NY, RI, and VT. Gradient experts participated in numerous public meetings, and presented written and oral testimony before siting and public service boards.

Substation Assessments. Gradient’s EMF modeling capabilities include 3D models for substation projects, which predict off-site magnetic field contours (isopleths) associated with substation equipment and entering/exiting lines. Gradient’s EMF analyses have been included in regulatory filings and shared with residents to address concerns about substation EMF impacts.

Smart Meters.  Radio-frequency Exposure and Health Effects of Wireless Devices. Gradient has helped multiple clients respond to regulatory and customer concerns regarding new wireless home electricity meters (“smart meters”) that are read remotely via radio-wave links. We helped address RF-exposure health-effects concerns through educational seminars, summaries of RF health-effects studies, public hearings, and expert testimony at administrative hearings. Our analyses contrasted ionizing from non-ionizing radiation, and we evaluated the intensity of radio waves from smart meters in relation to other wireless technologies such as radio, TV, Wi-Fi, cell phones, GPS, wireless handsets, nursery monitors, walkie-talkies, and remote controllers.

Solar and Battery Energy Storage Projects.  Gradient performed magnetic field assessments to support permitting of solar and battery energy storage projects.  Magnetic field assessments have addressed project electrical components that are sources of both steady direct current (DC) magnetic fields as well as alternating current (AC) magnetic fields.

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