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Attend the NPPD Hearings on Proposed Transmission Project

NPPD is hosting a series of open houses and public hearings to discuss a proposed Hoskins to Neligh Transmission Project. We need you to attend one of the meetings to put the “public” back in public power.

**Update:  According to items 8.1.7 and 8.1.8 on the NPPD agenda for their Friday, August 8-9 meeting, the NPPD board will be taking action on:

  • A “resolution to authorize management to enter into a Transmission Facilities Agreement and a Guaranty Agreement with TransCanada”
  • A “resolution to authorize management to begin the Public Routing Process for Transmission Facilities Needed to Support the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Project.”

These actions would be for a pipeline project which does not have a permit and has not been approved by the U.S. State Department or President Obama. This type of pre-emptive behavior has burned Nebraskans in the past, when NPPD contractors cleared a site east of Ericson to provide infrastructure for the TransCanada pipeline that was denied, and a route that has since been abandoned (see photos below).

 

NPPD Public Hearing Dates, Times, and Locations:

Monday, August 5 – St. Peter’s Parish Hall, 1504 Ivy Street, Stanton; Open House from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

Monday, August 5 – Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 801 Benjamin Avenue, Norfolk; Open House from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

Tuesday, August 6 – American Legion, 115 W. Third Street, Neligh; Open House from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

Tuesday, August 6 – Pierce Junior/Senior High School, 201 N. Sunset, Pierce; Open House from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

 

NPPD Board Meetings: TransCanada on the Agenda

Thursday, August 8 at 9:30 a.m. (Public comments heard at 1pm) – NPPD Columbus General Office, 1414 15th Street, Columbus, Nebraska
The agenda includes a vote on a wind energy proposal that needs our support.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

 Friday, August 9 at 8:00 a.m. (Public comments heard at 9am) – NPPD Columbus General Office, 1414 15th Street, Columbus, Nebraska
The agenda includes taking action on the TransCanada-related proposals outlined above.
RSVP to join us at the hearing via Facebook

In their press release, NPPD states that the 345,000-volt project, “will enhance operation of NPPD’s electric transmission system and provide additional opportunities for development of renewable energy projects. Specifically, this project will help serve customers’ electricity demands in north central Nebraska.”

We would like to know what specific renewable energy projects are under consideration that this transmission project would serve.

The press release goes on to say that, “In addition, four 115,000-volt transmission line segments will be routed from the new substation to existing lines.”

What is not mentioned in the press release is the role that the proposed Keystone Export pipeline, more specifically its pumping stations, would play in thie transmission project.  In NPPD’s 2012 Annual Report, the discussion of transmission contracts with Keystone appears on page 12 and page 34.  Is the proposed Hoskins to Neligh project a means to fulfilling this agreement with TransCanada? It just so happens that in the map provided by NPPD regarding the transmission project, part of the area to be served by the transmission line is in the same township as a pumping station site for the proposed Keystone Export pipeline.  Citizens and landowners deserve an honest answer to the question: is the Hoskins to Neligh transmission project being proposed to primarily serve the pipeline?

The transmission projact has been described as a way to meet peak energy demand during irrigation season.  When it’s hot and dry, when farmers’ crops most need water, is the same we all turn on our air conditioners.  It’s also the optimal time for solar energy generation.  One way to reduce the demand of irrigation load would be through solar-powered irrigation, a solution NPPD recognized in February 2013 when they approved a solar irrigation pilot project.  What ever happened to the solar irrigation project?  Rumor has it that the rural electric associations complained about the cost, so it was indefinitely shelved.

The solar pilot project carried an estimated cost of $80,000.  According to NPPD’s 2012 annual report, the estimated cost for the Keystone XL transmission agreement is a total of $52.9 million, of which, $11.4 million has been spent already (for a project that has been denied once and still does not have a permit).  How much of that $11.4 million has been paid back by TransCanada?  How many solar irrigation projects could be built for $11 million? How many for $53 million?

How much will the 345kv Hoskins to Neligh Transmission Project cost?  What will the price tag be for the four extra 115kv lines?  Who is going to pay for it?  That’s right.  Nebraskans.  In the same way that NPPD has extended a multi-million-dollar line of credit to a foreign corporation for a pipeline that has yet to gain a permit, they are set to begin another, not totally unrelated project, using customer-owner dollars fo finance the endeavor.

Do we have a say in any of this?  We sure do.  On August 5th and 6th, please be sure to attend one of the NPPD hearings on the Hoskins to Neligh Transmission project.  Make your voice heard.  Ask your questions, provide your comments, and, as always, help put the public back in public power.

 

 

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