I once tried to teach my young daughters about electricity by pointing at the steel structures outside our minivan windows. We were driving down the highway, and I said something like, “See that tall, grey thing out there that looks like a rabbit? Those cables the rabbit is holding carry electricity to our house and make our TV work so you can watch The Lion King.”
Their bright, blue eyes widened in awe, and I thought I had made a major educational breakthrough. Then, they looked at one another and simultaneously whispered, “Mufasa!”
Okay. So, electricity is underrated but it is also necessary. None of us has electricity unless there are power lines. They play a crucial role in supporting the state’s economy and our individual lives. And NPPD takes pride in making sure we have enough transmission lines (and power) to serve customers 24×7, 365.
In addition to taking care of the power lines in place today, NPPD also builds new lines when needed. We currently have four, high-voltage transmission projects underway. Once built, they will make the state’s electrical grid even stronger and give Nebraskans the following:
- Reliability. If you think of power lines like a highway system carrying energy instead of cars, you want multiple routes for people to travel. If one highway is closed due to construction, drivers can still get to their destination via another road. The same is true with electricity. When Mother Nature tears down power lines in one area of the state, we can still get power where it is needed. Which, by the way, is nearly everywhere.
- Congestion relief. (No. Not like a common cold.) Power lines are similar to fiber optic cables used by phone companies. When there are so many users at any given time (or when there is so much electricity trying to get from one place to another), the lines can become congested. “All circuits are busy.” Multiple power lines can share the load, so to speak, and increase our ability to move electricity from power plants to people.
- Renewable energy. Public power builds the electrical infrastructure needed to support an area’s load growth. Unfortunately, some of the best wind for generating electricity blows through the central part of the state where there is less population and little load growth. NPPD has helped bring eight wind farms to the state and currently purchases power from them when they generate, but the transmission lines we are building will allow for even more wind farms to be built in the future.
Simply put, NPPD is making it possible for little girls and boys to watch their favorite movies on TV. They may not care whether the electricity powering their iPad or DVD is generated by wind, water or nuclear atoms. And they probably don’t see the important role “steel rabbits” play in delivering the electricity they use. But I do, and frankly, that’s something I like to roar about.