The Elkhorn Valley Transmission Project connecting Dodge and Washington counties with a new 23-mile-long transmission line is up and running.
The long-planned project, which began with an agreement between the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and the Fremont Department of Utilities in 2014, was recently energized after the new transmission line was connected to Fremont’s Substation B was completed earlier this year.
The Elkhorn Valley Transmission Project consists of a new 161kV transmission line between OPPD’s existing Substation 1226—located near Highway 91 and County Road 27—west of Blair and OPPD’s existing Substation 991—located on U Boulevard and S. County Road 26—east of Fremont.
A new 69kV line was also built between Substation 991 northeast of Fremont and the Fremont Department of Utilities Substation B located on North Luther Road and Highway 30.
According to City Administrator Brian Newton, the new transmission line provides much-needed reliability.
“Having another source of power into the city provides an extra level of reliability to ensure Fremont’s power availability is as close to 100 percent as possible,” he said.
Newton says increased reliability goes a long way toward ensuring the city never experiences “rolling blackouts” which were a potential threat during the summer months prior to the project being completed.
“There were times in the summer where that lonely old transmission line to the grid was at its capacity,” he said. “Had something happened to that we pretty much would have been an island and we could have had rolling blackouts.”
The project should also improve the Fremont Department of Utilities’ flexibility for planned outages and augment its ability to diversify its energy options, including renewables.
As a southwest Power Pool project, the Elkhorn Valley Transmission Project should provide the necessary reliability and capacity needed to serve future growth for both OPPD and Fremont customers, and enhance economic development opportunities in and around the Fremont area, released information says.
“By adding another transmission line what we are doing is adding like another segment to a spider web and what that does is gives you more strength and more flexibility to be able to serve energy in the area,” Tim Nissen, OPPD Director of Engineering, said.
The new lines are owned and will be maintained by OPPD.