Starting next Monday (Sept. 9), Nebraska Public Power District will be holding open houses to invite citizen input on their R-Plan transmission project. The dates and locations of the open houses — which will run from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. — are listed here:

Monday, Sept. 9 
Thedford Public Schools (old gym)
304 Maple Street, Thedford, NE 
2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, Sept. 10
Sutherland Public School (south gym)
401 Walnut Street, Sutherland, NE 
 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Wednesday, Sept. 11
Sandhills Public School (gym)
10 Gandy Ave., Dunning, NE 
2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Thursday, Sept. 12
Community Center
236 Main Street, Stapleton, NE 
 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Monday, Sept. 16
American Legion
657 G Street, Burwell, NE
2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, Sept. 17
Wheeler Central High School (old gym)
600 Randolph West, Bartlett, NE
 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 


New transmission with the capacity to carry electricity long distances is greatly needed in order to expand renewable energy. The majority of the transmission grid in the U.S. is between 30-50 years old and is stressed by the number of consumers it must serve. Furthermore, it is unable to access large amounts of renewable sources coming from more remote places in the country. This is hindering the growth of wind energy, a source of electricity that Nebraska has huge potential to develop and 94% of Nebraskans support.

NPPD needs to hear that we want the R-Plan transmission project’s potential for expanding wind energy in our state. The project will start at the Gerald Gentleman Station coal plant and will stretch north and then eastward across the state. Gerald Gentleman is Nebraska’s largest coal plant and is symbolic of NPPD’s penchant for opting for a risky, status quo energy portfolio instead of serious investments in locally produced renewable energy. In the face of recent standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency that affected Gerald Gentleman, NPPD spent $35.5 million for emission reduction equipment for their coal plant rather than considering serious investments in renewable sources. While it is easy to get excited about potential new opportunities the R-Plan brings for expanding renewable energy, and the benefits that would come to the rural counties along the line, it will be up to us, as customer-owners, to hold NPPD accountable to their word that the project will be used to help expand locally produced renewable energy, not simply maintain the status quo.

NPPD also needs to hear landowner concerns about the routing of the transmission line. Because it goes through the Sandhills, we have similar concerns with the disruption of the ecologically fragile area as we have with the KXL, minus the spill threat factor. If landowners have specific sensitive areas on their property like blowouts or wetlands, NPPD needs to hear about it now, early on in the process. The sooner NPPD knows about specific issues, the easier it will be to accommodate landowners and have a better route. We have faith that working with NPPD on routing issues will be much more productive than our efforts with TransCanada, as NPPD is a public entity owned by us.

Attend the open houses, located along the route of the transmission project, and make your voice heard. Help put the public back in public power.