POWER Engineers (www.powereng.com) has started work on a series of transmission upgrade projects for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD; Columbus, Nebraska, U.S.), with an estimated engineering price tag of approximately US$23.3 million and a projected construction cost of approximately $200 million.

NPPD plans to build more than 140 miles (225 km) of 345-kV and 115-kV transmission lines in locations around the state to connect new crude oil pumping stations, interconnect proposed wind farms and continue to maintain reliability in NPPD's system.

The projects include two 115-kV transmission lines totaling approximately 15 miles (24 km) to continue to provide system reliability and support economic growth in South Sioux City, Nebraska; the 40-mile (64-km) Nebraska portion of an 185-mile (298-km) 345-kV transmission line running between Axtell, Nebraska, and Spearville, Kansas, to strengthen the regional 345-kV transmission grid; 70 miles (113 km) of 115-kV transmission lines in various locations in central and north-central Nebraska to power a series of new crude oil pumping stations associated with the TransCanada Keystone XL crude oil pipeline; and approximately 15 miles of 115-kV transmission line to support proposed wind farms in Nebraska.

NPPD selected POWER Engineers to provide routing, surveying, permitting, engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction management, which are scheduled to be completed by summer of 2012.