The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) on Jan. 10 said that its board of directors has voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D., at a base bid of about $265m for the 345-kV R-Project transmission line.
While the contract has been awarded, no construction work on the line will be conducted until NPPD receives its incidental take permit for the American Burying Beetle from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), NPPD said.
“We anticipate that the USFWS will issue that permit sometime in the first quarter of 2019,” NPPD Vice President and COO Tom Kent said in the statement.
The line route begins at the Gerald Gentleman station near Sutherland and heads north to Thedford, where it would connect at an existing substation, NPPD said. The line would then move east to Holt County, covering about 225 miles, where it would connect with a new substation to be built, NPPD said.
The new line is needed to enhance the reliability of Nebraska’s electric transmission system, help relieve congestion of existing lines within the system, and help support renewable energy projects – if approved at the local level, NPPD said.
As noted on the project’s website, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) conducted a study, also known as the Integrated Transmission Plan, to assess the needs of the entire transmission network with the SPP region over the next 10 years. The R-Project is one of numerous projects to come out of that study, the site noted, adding that if NPPD does not build the project, then the SPP would find another entity to do so.