PNM is committed to protecting the diverse population of birds and wildlife in New Mexico, while still providing safe and reliable power to our customers. Each year, PNM invests in additions and upgrades to our system to help mitigate electricity-related bird deaths and outages. Recently, we completed an extensive bird guarding project on a switching station in Las Vegas, NM.
Certain electrical facilities or structures may experience more bird/wildlife-related outages than others. PNM noticed that a switching station in Las Vegas was seeing an increased number of issues related
to birds, and immediately began efforts to develop a plan to guard the facility and protect the birds in the area.
“We have completed similar projects on other electrical facilities, and have seen a dramatic decrease of bird-related deaths and outages since implementing these tactics,” said Mike Prescott, manager for PNM Substations and Relay/Communication. “It’s a proactive approach for PNM to honor the commitment we have to both the people and animals that live in our beautiful state.”
The Substation and Environmental departments at PNM worked closely together to analyze data and research options that would help meet the needs for this project. Crews worked hard to insulate wires in the switching station, install equipment that discourages birds from perching or nesting, and cover areas to prevent birds from getting in between equipment. The project took a month to complete, and was done without having to shut off power to any customers.
PNM is looking at other facilities that might benefit from installing this type of equipment to protect birds and wildlife in New Mexico. Not only has PNM committed to avian protection on its own system, but we have shared knowledge with other utilities to help them implement similar programs. PNM is the founder and ongoing sponsor of the New Mexico Avian Protection Working Group, in conjunction with Hawks Aloft, New Mexico Game and Fish, the Rural Utility Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Group trains co-ops and other utilities throughout the Southwest on avian protection best practices.