Nebraska utility looking to increase hydroelectric production

The Nebraska Public Power District is paying the Colorado-based Applegate Group US$150,274 to analyze the potential for hydroelectric development in the Cornhusker State.

The study, which is also includes McMillen Engineering and Telluride Energy, seeks to determine the economic feasibility of increasing NPPD's hydropower capacity through new projects or improving existing facilities.

The utility says its interest in increasing the capacity produced by its hydroelectric fleet stems in large part from recent legislative efforts to ease the hydropower development process, as well as advances in non-traditional generating units like in-pipe systems.

NPPD owns three hydropower plants, including the 24-MW North Platte, 1.49-MW Kearney, and 3-MW Spencer hydropower facilities. Added to the purchases NPPD makes from several other hydroelectric plants, hydroelectricity accounts for about 8.6% of the district’s total generating capacity.

The report is expected to be complete by April 2013, with the goal of increasing the percentage of hydropower to 10% of the overall energy mix by 2020, NPPD says.

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