Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Nebraska: Power companies plan for Keystone pipeline

Power companies plan for oil pipeline
By Joelyn Hansen/Daily Sun staff writer
Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 09:02:10 am CST

DILLER -- Norris Public Power District and the Nebraska Public Power District hosted a public open house in Diller on Monday to provide information and collect input on plans to build a 115,000 volt (115 kV) transmission line from Harbine to Steele City to enable operation of a $5.2 billion crude oil pipeline to be built through Nebraska.

NPPD plans to build a new 115 kV line, and the accompanying substation upgrades, from Harbine to Steele City by the fall of 2009 in response to future plans by TransCanada to build a crude oil pipeline, named the Keystone Pipeline, through Nebraska, Brenda Sanne, NPPD Corporate Communications Supervisor, said.

The first phase of the $5.2 billion pipeline is expected to begin construction in late 2009, Jeff Rauh, Keystone Pipeline project contractor, said. The plan is to construct a pipeline that will pump crude oil from northern Alberta Canada, where there is an influx of crude oil available, and route it down through the United States via eastern Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and over to central Illinois to its delivery point of Wood River, Ill.

The pipeline will travel to Steele City before being routed to Wood River, Ill., Rauh said. The second phase, to begin construction in 2010, will include a pipeline from Steele City to Cushing, Okla.

The pipeline, which is already under construction in North Dakota, will pump about 590,000 barrels of crude oil a day when it is completed, Rauh said.

The United States currently consumes about 21 million barrels of oil a day, Rauh said.

To move the crude oil through the pipeline, several pumps are needed at regular intervals, including pumps near Steele City.

NPPD, which is working with Norris, is building the 116 kV transmission line, Mark Miller, NPPD Corporate Communications, said. Norris, which currently services the area, does not currently operate the necessary high voltage line needed.

The transmission line is estimated to cost anywhere from $14 to $18 million.

The new transmission line will not only service TransCanada, but it will enhance reliability of the electric system in the area, enable Norris to meet additional future electric load growth in the area and add customer base, Miller said.

The entire transmission line will be 18 miles long, Miller said. The line route is not set as NPPD and Norris are still currently in the planning process and gathering input from local residents in the area to ensure that the line is placed in areas with the least impact.

“It’s impossible to make everyone happy,” Miller said. “We try, as much as we can, to come up with the most suitable route.”

On Monday, during the open house, several residents dropped by to talk with engineers and project members about the transmission line route and the pipeline. Residents were also encouraged to review maps to be sure that anything, such as pivots, houses, churches and cemeteries; were marked to ensure the line did not impact those areas.

“We really believe that public involvement is crucial to a project like this,” Miller said. “The communication, sharing of information is very important.”

Diller resident Darold Rahe and his son, Randal, were among the people that stopped by on Monday. Rahe said he was curious to find out about the line and the pipeline.

There is a strong possibility that the line will travel through his land , he said. Though he has no concerns about it.

NPPD hopes to identify a preferred route in December. The company will then take the identified route to the Power Review Board, hold a public hearing and begin surveying.

By April 2009 the plan is to have structure locations determined and in July 2009 easement acquisition completed and construction started to ensure the line is energized by October 2009.


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