With the energizing of Shell Creek Substation north of Columbus on June 13, Phase I of Nebraska Public Power District’s new transmission line project to increase reliability in east-central Nebraska is essentially complete.

"Energizing Shell Creek Substation is an important milestone in NPPD’s Electric Transmission Reliability Project," said Project Manager Craig Holthe. “Completion of Phase I will ensure the reliable delivery of electric energy to Nebraska homes, farms, businesses and industry during peak demands this summer.”

Three main components composed Phase I: 1) expansion of Hoskins Substation near Norfolk, and; 2) construction of Shell Creek Substation [both 1 and 2 include installation of new, high-voltage transformers]; and 3) upgrade the voltage capacity of approximately 40 miles of existing high-voltage transmission line between Hoskins Substation and Shell Creek Substation. Phase I was budgeted at approximately $20 million.

Phase II of the ETR-Project calls for expansion of Columbus East Substation and construction of approximately 80 miles of 345 kV high-voltage transmission line between Shell Creek Substation and Lincoln Electric System's Northwest 68th and Holdrege Substation, near Lincoln.

Following a nearly year-long public involvement and line route selection process, Phase II is currently engaged in engineering, surveying and right-of-way acquisition activities. Actual construction of the new line is scheduled to begin this fall at locations where right-of-way easements have been acquired.

In other project-related news, on June 24 the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) approved the new line portion of the ETR-Project. The NPSC determined that the new transmission line conforms to the National Electrical Safety Code, the laws of the State of Nebraska, and the rules and regulations of the Commission.