ROCK PORT, Mo. (AP) - Preliminary planning and public discussion has begun on a proposal to build a 345-kilovolt transmission line in northwest Missouri and southeast Nebraska, although construction would not even begin until 2015, according to two utility companies.
Kansas City Power & Light and the Omaha Public Power District held one of eight planned open houses Monday in Rock Port, Mo., to discuss the line, which would run from near Sibley, Mo., northwest to Nebraska City, Neb. A similar meeting was held in Auburn, Neb.
A new KCP&L substation would be built south of Maryville and connect to an existing Omaha Public Power substation south of Nebraska City. The St. Joseph News-Press reported (http://bit.ly/PaTHlS ) the utilities are partnering in the Midwest Transmission Project to build the line.
The project is designed to bring more capacity and reliability to the region's energy grid, utility officials said. The utilities were solicited to consider the project after the Southwest Power Pool, a nine-state regional transmission organization mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, found it was a priority project for the region.
"They saw a need for increased reliability and redundancy," said project spokesman Bill Musgrave.
Dan Hegeman, a KCP&L official, said the study area would be evaluated this summer, followed by development of potential routes in the fall. Second and third rounds of public meetings will be held in the winter and next spring.
The final route would be selected next summer, followed by negotiations with property owners and working to get environmental permits in the winter of 2014. Actual construction would start in the summer of 2015, with service scheduled to start in the summer of 2017.
The line's overall length, terrain and access still must be determined, with a major consideration being where to cross the Missouri River, said Brent Davis of KCP&L.
Information from: St. Joseph News-Press, http://www.stjoenews-press.com