NPPD SAYS NEW TRANSMISSION LINE NEEDED FOR RELIABILITY

Sponsored - In a sponsored segment, NPPD is sharing information about a planned new transmission line for the north central part of Nebraska.

The R-Project is a 345,000 volt transmission line. It will be about 225 miles in length. It will start near the Gerald Gentleman station at Sutherland from a substation. Then, it will transition east and north to a substation owned by NPPD at Thedford, which is going to be expanded. After that, it will go east and connect to an existing transmission line in Holt County.

Tom Kent, who is the Chief Operating Officer for NPPD, recently visited the Pure Nebraska set to talk about the project. Kent says the project is needed for three reasons. The first one, he says, has to do with reliability. "This project will create a new strong energy source for north central Nebraska," Kent said. "What we saw in 2012, is a summer with drought. With the irrigation going on that summer, we actually got to a point where we were unable to get enough energy into north central Nebraska. This project helps fix that for the future," Kent said.

A second reason for the transmission line is it will reduce congestion on the entire transmission system. "You can equate this congestion to a football Saturday in Lincoln, and you are having trouble leaving town after the game because roads are packed. The same thing can happen with our transmission system. When that happens, we can't use the generation resources that might be most economical," Kent said. "Creating this new line will give us the ability to move energy back and forth more efficiently, and reduce congestion across our entire system." Kent also says the new transmission line will help with the potential to develop new resources.

Kent says NPPD is working hard to address environmental concerns surrounding this new project, as the line will be cutting through the Sandhills. NPPD has been working on a public planning process with landowners for two years now. "We are working with the landowners in the area, to understand their concerns, and ultimately to refine the route," Kent said. Some of the concerns from landowners include impacts to ag operations and the impact on the environment. "We've done things to address that," Kent said. "We've done things like micro-sighting, which helps move the line to avoid a shelterbelt or a feedlot so the line doesn't impact an ag operation as much. We are also using unique construction techniques. The Sandhills is a very fragile and important area to the state. So we are constructing a lot of this project using foundations that screw into the ground so we don't have to drill piers or pour concrete," Kent said. NPPD says it's also working to avoid bringing heavy equipment into the Sandhills, and they plan to do a lot of the work with helicopters.

If people would like to get more information about the R-Project Transmission Line, go to NPPD.com. There is a top tab on the front page for the R-Project, and you can click that tab to see plenty of background on the project as well as videos.