NPPD Project Reaches Easement Stage

February 9, 2011

Minden, Neb. – Representatives from Nebraska Public Power District informed Kearney County Commissioners Tuesday that right-of-way agents have begun acquiring easements from county landowners for NPPD’s Axtell to Kansas 345,000-volt transmission line project. Generally, easement work is being done from Axtell, progressing south. About two dozen property owners have signed thus far. If not contacted, yet, property owners along the line route can expect to be reached within the next couple of months.

The new, high-voltage power line is needed because it will help ease a bottleneck that currently exists in NPPD’s regional transmission grid. At times, most often when the power is most needed, congestion in existing transmission lines will not allow electric energy to flow freely. This means NPPD must lower the output of its lowest cost generating plant, Gerald Gentleman Station near North Platte, or risk overloading the electric system and causing widespread blackouts. The new, 53-mile power line will also provide an additional north-south pathway for energy in the area, enhancing the system’s reliability in case of ice or wind storms.

An easement is a legal document by which NPPD pays the property owner for limited rights to build and maintain a power line on his or her property. The easement payment for the Axtell to Kansas project is calculated using land-use values determined by an independent third-party appraiser. NPPD purchases a 200-ft. right-of-way, paying 80 percent of the appraised value plus a per-structure payment equal to the value of one-half an acre. For example (keeping in mind that there are many variables which might affect a payment’s total), a mile of right-of-way over property valued at $3,000 per acre would provide a payment to the property owner of approximately $60,000, including four structure payments. On average, a line like the one being built for the Axtell to Kansas project uses about four structures per mile.

Surveying, engineering and structure placement for the project are complete in Kearney County and nearing completion in Franklin County. Next up is material acquisition (poles, wire, etc.) with construction scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011 and completed by December 2012. For any questions, NPPD has opened a project field office in Minden at 528 N. Minden Avenue. Phone: (308)832-1208. Or go to nppd.com and click on Grid Essential, Axtell to Kansas.