NMPP Energy presents Community Project of the Year Awards

NMPP Energy presented its Project of the Year Awards at its Annual Conference in Lincoln, Neb., March 20.

The awards are presented annually to NMPP Energy communities to recognize projects or programs that create a more cohesive community, whether it was a project created for the entire community or one that makes it easier for city staff and employees to serve their customers. The award winners received $200 to be used for a community project of their choice. Communities presented awards were:

City of Central City, Neb. – Central Park Project

City officials worked with the Advanced Leadership Class at Central City High School to develop a park proposal for a four-block area in the middle of the city. After the students gained City Council approval, engineers took the concept and began construction.

The project included input from many groups in the community, including local skateboarders designing the skate park and Boy Scout members designing and constructing other park features. The park also includes a playground area with a zipline and courts for basketball, pickleball, bocce, shuffleboard and gaga ball.

City of Cozad, Neb. – Citywide Electric System Inspection Project

The City partnered with Fast Forward, a startup business based in Kearney, Neb., to conduct a citywide thermal inspection pilot program of the City’s electric distribution system in one night, using advanced vehicle-mounted camera sensors. The inspection uncovered more than 30 previously undetected issues within the City’s infrastructure, which could then be proactively addressed. This proactive approach underscores Cozad’s commitment to maintain reliability of their local electric system and fosters enhancements in other critical areas, including water management and GIS programs.

City of Grant, Neb. – Downtown Revitalization Project

The project was a two-year process with the primary goal of improving access to businesses for the City’s senior residents. The project included:

  • Cleaning up sight lines and improving lighting for highway and foot traffic by replacing new electric light poles and eliminating overhead electric lines;
  • Replacing aging sidewalks with fiberglass reinforced concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters; and
  • Adding new benches, trash receptacles and parking stalls.

The completed project will help to revitalize investment into the City’s downtown area and entice new business owners to consider moving into the area. The City made a commitment to use local workers as much as possible to benefit local business owners and employees.

Village of Stuart, Neb. – Electric Distribution System Rebuild, Voltage Conversion and New Generator and Switch Gear Project

The Village’s project was a 10-year process that included upgrading its 2,400-volt electric distribution system to a 4,160-volt system, replacing many components of the systems including poles, cross arms, insulators, cutouts, arrestors and conductors. High voltage switches and transformers were added to prepare for the transition to a higher voltage line.

In 2021, the Village purchased a used diesel generator to replace two older units. The Village retained two existing units which were reworked for 4,160-volt output. The Village’s electric department staff performed a wide variety of work to accommodate the new generating unit as well as working with outside contractors. Stuart’s generating units serve as a backup power resource, adding critical capacity and resiliency to the regional electric grid during times of emergencies.