Broken Bow, Neb.- Nebraska Public Power District will continue its public involvement process for its proposed Broken Bow 115,000-Volt Transmission Line project with a public hearing set for February 22 in Broken Bow. The public hearing is the third step in NPPD’s process that included two earlier public open houses used to gather information to develop a proposed route.
The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the Broken Bow Municipal Building, 314 S. 10th Avenue. NPPD and its consultants will present information regarding the need, engineering aspects, line route selection, and easement acquisition to the public. The public will also have an opportunity to speak on the record during the hearing.
Prior to the public hearing, representatives from the utility will be available beginning at 5 p.m. to answer any further questions and take additional information. NPPD officials will also be available to meet with landowners following the hearing.
A new 115,000-volt transmission line will be constructed that will transmit the electrical energy generated from the new Broken Bow Wind Farm, located in northeastern Custer County, to an existing NPPD substation located south of Nebraska Highway 2 near Broken Bow. The line is expected to be nine miles in length and has an estimated cost of $5.5 million. Broken Bow Wind LLC, will construct a collector substation, located in the northeast part of Custer County, where NPPD will start the line route.
The Broken Bow Wind Farm is expected to be operational during 2012.
“The interest by the community and the landowners who are affected was significant and helped us move through the routing process with a large amount of information,” said NPPD Project Manager Jedd Fischer. He noted that comments were received on approximately 80 percent of the land located within the initial boundaries of the project’s initial study area.
Fischer explained that NPPD and its consultants examined 36 different routing criteria for the project. “Our goal in all of our transmission line projects is to identify the most suitable line route for the project, and to minimize impacts to landowners, agricultural production, residential areas, and the environment,” he explained. “Based upon information gathered in field studies, aerial photography, and input compiled from landowners at our open houses sessions, we feel the proposed line route accomplishes this goal.”
Proposing the final route does not mean that all of the details have been completed, Fischer explained. “We have taken our best look at a route, but until we have right-of-entry agreements from landowners and an opportunity to conduct survey work and further engineering, some aspects of the route, such as where a structure is specifically located, could still change.” Right-of-entry will not begin until 30 days after the public hearing is held and a final line route is announced.
To determine the proposed line route, NPPD started with a general study area and then selected preferred and alternative line routes. Since the last open house, the District has reviewed all of the information received using approximately three dozen routing criteria, such as the line’s proximity to homes, environmental issues, accessibility, etc., to arrive at the proposed line route.
NPPD’s public involvement has been extensive. Starting in March 2010, NPPD has held two public open house meetings for landowners potentially impacted by the new lines. The meetings were an opportunity to gather property information from landowners to be used by NPPD to determine the most suitable line routes for the project. NPPD has also held multiple meetings with local, county, and city officials along with environmental groups and state agencies.
“We greatly appreciate the time and energy landowners, the business community, and local government have taken to provide us with valuable information,” said Fischer. “We have reviewed all comments collected over the past year and taken each one into consideration before selecting the proposed line route.”