Representatives from Nebraska Public Power District have announced the final line route for NPPD's Axtell to Kansas 345-kV transmission line project. The announcement comes a little more than a month since NPPD hosted a pair of public hearings, in Minden and Franklin, for the new, 53-mile power line.
The NPPD Board approved the Axtell to Kansas Project in June 2009. NPPD began an 11-month routing and public involvement process in September 2009, and the project was approved by the Nebraska Power Review Board in May 2010.
Primarily, the new power line is needed to help keep electric rates as low as possible and to enhance the reliability of the regional transmission grid. The new line will help ease transmission congestion in the region and allow NPPD to operate its electric system more efficiently, ultimately saving ratepayers money. Also, the new transmission line will serve as an additional north/south pathway for energy, which will add redundancy, and reliability, to the electric grid.
Landowners along the line route were notified of NPPD's decision via a letter and project newsletter. Now, right-of-way agents will begin to contact landowners seeking right-of-entry agreements.
Although a final route has been identified, NPPD representatives made it clear that public involvement in the project will not stop. "I would like to thank the public for their participation in the project, thus far," said senior project manager Craig Holthe. "As we move forward, we're going to continue to work closely with landowners," he added. Next up will be property valuations, additional environmental work and surveying, followed by easement acquisition. Construction is scheduled to begin toward the end of 2011 and conclude by the end of 2012.
With the final line route, NPPD has used a thorough, methodical and transparent process to select a route that minimizes impacts to landowners, the environment and threatened and endangered species of wildlife, while considering cost to Nebraska ratepayers. Initial estimated costs for the project are $87 million. More information can be found at http://nppd.com/grid_essential/.