(Neb.)-New NPPD Transmission Line That Runs Through The Sandhills Has Been Finalized
(Thedford) – Nebraska Public Power District announced Monday the final line route for its R-Project 345,000-volt transmission line that will meet reliability needs of the Nebraska transmission system and reduce congestion on the existing system. The line will also provide new transmission capacity to address future renewable generation.
Landowners along the route were notified of the final line route this week, completing a nearly two-year long process. NPPD conducted 26 open houses and meetings with the public, held eight public hearings, and accepted more than 2,500 comments during the routing process. In total, nearly 1,800 individuals attended the various open houses and hearings. The District completed state required public hearings in November and has reviewed input from those meetings in determining the final route. The final route was chosen after considering all comments received throughout the entire public process.
The line will run north from NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, to the existing Thedford substation that will be expanded to support the new transmission line and transformer that will interconnect with the underlying 115,000 volt system at Thedford. The line will then run east towards Holt County to a new substation that will be constructed connecting into an existing Western Area Power Administration 345,000 volt transmission line.
The District will begin to contact landowners to gain right-of-entry into private property during the next step of the process.
The District plans to use a combination of steel poles and lattice-towers. The steel poles will typically be used on sections of the project that have relatively good access, or are near established roads and in cultivated fields. The lattice towers will be installed on the sections of the project that have limited access. The lattice towers were selected because they minimize impacts to the fragile soils due to the options they provide for construction. For example, the lattice towers can be erected with helicopters which negate the need to have a large crane at each site and helical pier foundations rather than concrete foundations.
An easement compensation plan with landowners has been established utilizing payments based on 80 percent of the appraised land value plus structure payments.
Right of entry is expected to begin in February and continue through July 2015, while engineering design for the project is expected to last into 2016. Easement acquisition is expected to run from September 2015 through February 2017. Line construction will follow starting in February 2017 with initial restoration activities running through November 2018. The line is planned to be in-service by September 2018.
The need for the line was identified by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in its Integrated Transmission Plan. SPP, which NPPD is a member of, is a regional transmission organization that is governed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure adequate transmission capacity is planned, and reliable operation of the transmission system is provided in the SPP region.
NPPD rate payers will pay seven percent of the costs of the project as part of its SPP membership, but will also pay a similar cost for projects in other locations in the SPP footprint for new transmission lines 345,000-volts and higher.
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