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Thunderhead Wind Energy Center Interconnection Project

Thunderhead Wind Energy LLC (Thunderhead) has requested​ to interconnect their existing Thunderhead Wind Energy Center to Western Area Power Administration's (WAPA) existing Grand Island-Fort Thompson 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line via Nebraska Public Power District's (NPPD) Holt County Substation (Interconnection Project).

WAPA'S INVOLVEMENT
If there is available transmission capacity on the federal transmission system, WAPA provides open access to transmission services so that energy producers can transmit power to their customers.  Any entity requesting transmission services must submit an application for interconnection.  For more information about the interconnection process, visit WAPA's website here​.  The federal interconnection process is separate​ from any State, County, or local permitting and approvals that may be required.    

​The proposed interconnection of the Thunderhead Wind Energy Center to WAPA's transmission​ system is a Federal action under NEPA.  As a result, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was be prepared to evaluate the environmental effects of the Project.  The EA tiered from the analysis conducted in the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).  The PEIS can be viewed here​.  

WAPA evaluated the potential environmental impacts and documented the analysis in a Draft and Final EA.  WAPA found that neither alternative (Proposed Action or No Action) would result in significant impacts to environmental resources or the human environment, and therefore, a Finding Of No Significant Impact was warranted (avaiable for download below) and an Environmental Impact Statement will not be prepared.  ​Additionally, WAPA selected the Proposed Action for implementation. 
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

WAPA held two virtual scoping meetings on December 15, 2021, as part of the 30-day public scoping period, to solicit input on issues to be addressed in the Interconnection Project EA. WAPA invited federal, state, and local agencies to the first meeting and invited the public, including landowners, to the second meeting. WAPA published newspaper announcements and sent mailers to landowners in proximity to the project area that included Interconnection Project information, meeting information, and a comment card. Seven members of the public and four agency staff attended the virtual scoping meetings. 

WAPA published the Draft EA for public comment on April 13, 2022. WAPA sent letters to federal, state, and local agencies in addition to landowners to provide notification of the Draft EA and to solicit review and comment. WAPA ran five weekly newspaper announcements in the Antelope County News from April 13, 2022, through May 11, 2022. The public comment period ran through May 13, 2022.

In response to a public comment received on the Draft EA on May 25, 2022, WAPA decided to extend the public comment period through June 8, 2022. WAPA ran three additional weekly newspaper announcements in the Antelope County News from May 25, 2022, through June 8, 2022. Notification letters were again sent to federal, state, and local agencies and landowners. This comment period extension reflected no changes to previously available documents, including the Draft EA, figures, and appendices. WAPA retitled the previously available appendices to make them more easily identifiable on the website.

Through the public comment period on the Draft EA, WAPA received 16 submissions (emails, letters, and voicemails) from 14 landowners or other stakeholders and two state agencies (NDEE and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources), which included 26 individual comments. Comment topics included general support; general opposition; project description; public involvement process; water resources; socioeconomics and environmental justice; hazardous materials and waste; air quality, greenhouse gases, and climate change; regulatory framework; and geology, minerals, and paleontology resources. Two comments resulted in revisions to the Final EA. Seven of the comments resulted in responses that 1) clarified where, in the Draft EA, information addressing the comment was already provided or 2) explained why the comment did not otherwise warrant a change in the Final EA. The remaining 17 comments either provided factual information or statements of support or opposition that did not require a response.

A summary of all public comments received during scoping and on the Draft EA, as well as responses, is included in Appendix J of the Final EA (available for download below).


​PROJECT LINKS and documents


Current Documents​​

Final EA (main body)

Final EA:  Figures

Final EA:  Appendice​s (A-J)

Appendix A​​
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I
Appendix J


FONSI and Decision Document


Prior Documents​

Draft EA (main body)

Draft EA:  Figures

Draft EA: Appendices (A-J)

Appendix A​​
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I
Appendix J

​Public Scoping


CONTACT INFORMATION
Christina Gomer
Western Area Power Administration
UGP NEPA Coordinator
2900 4th Avenue North
Billings, MT 59101-1266
(406) 255-2811​​
gomer@wapa.gov 

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Page Last Updated: 7/28/2022 12:36 PM