Nebraska

Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s project is the first Nebraska Project to earn LIHI certification

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (Central) is a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska, formed in 1933. Central’s original purpose was to provide irrigation water to a region where rainfall was inadequate for consistent agricultural production. The Kingsley Dam Project, FERC Docket P-1417 (Project), operated by the Central, was issued a 40-year license on July 29, 1998. The license expires on July 29, 2038. The Kingsley Dam Project consists of dams, reservoirs, canals, and power plants located on the North Platte and Platte Rivers in Garden, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson, and Gosper Counties in south-central Nebraska.

Project Name Kingsley Dam
LIHI Certificate Number 37
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
May 22, 2013
May 22, 2018
Owner Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District
State Nebraska
Location Located on the North Platte and Platte Rivers in south central Nebraska.
Installed Capacity 105.9 MW
Average Annual Generation 321,873 MWh
Facility Type
FERC No. 1417

The 3-mile long Kingsley Dam, on the North Platte River, impounds Lake McConaughy, which has a surface area of 30,500 acres and a maximum allowable storage capacity of 1,790,000 acre-feet. Kingsley Hydro, a 51.9-MW single-turbine hydroelectric plant, abuts Kingsley Dam and discharges to Lake Ogallala. The Central (or Tri-County) Diversion Dam, located 50 miles downstream of Kingsley Dam at the confluence of the North Platte and South Platte rivers, diverts Platte River flow into the 75- mile-long Supply Canal, which incorporates 27 dams and impoundments and three 18-MW hydroelectric power plants (Jeffrey, Johnson No. 1, and Johnson No. 2).

The Kingsley Hydro Plant contains one 50,000-kW turbine and one 50,000-kW generator, with an installed capacity of 50,000 kW. The Jeffrey Hydro Plant contains two 10,440-kW turbines and two 10,800-kW generators, with an installed capacity of 20,880 kW. The Johnson No. 1 Hydro plant contains two 10,030-kW turbines and two 10,800-kW generators, with an installed capacity of 20,060 kW. The Johnson No. 2 Hydro plant contains one 22,960-kW turbine and one 22,500-kW generator, with an installed capacity of 22,500 kW. The total installed capacity of the project is 113,440 kW. The average annual generation from the project is approximately 322 GWh.

A major addition to Central’s project occurred in 1984 when the Kingsley Hydroplant was constructed at the outlet of Lake McConaughy to make use of the existing water releases and drop of up to 143 feet that occurs between Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala.

Central began the process of relicensing its project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 1984, which concluded with the issuance of a 40-year license in July of 1998. During the relicensing process, the United States Department of Interior and the states of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming entered into a Cooperative Agreement to develop a long-term recovery program for threatened and endangered species habitat along the central Platte River. In May 1998, the parties to the license negotiations – including Central, the Nebraska Public Power District, the states of Colorado and Wyoming, the Nebraska Water Users, Inc., the Whooping Crane Habitat Maintenance Trust, National Audubon Society and the Department of the Interior – entered into a settlement agreement on wildlife and habitat issues and proposed operating conditions for the hydroelectric project. Terms of the settlement were used by FERC staff to complete the final Environmental Impact Statement and licensing order.

A unique condition within the settlement is the Environmental Account, a block of water set aside in Lake McConaughy dedicated to be used for fish and wildlife purposes. This Environmental Account is funded by 10% of the storable inflows to Lake McConaughy with a cap of 200,000 acre-feet. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) employs a manager who controls the release of this water for the protection of endangered and threatened species on the Platte River downstream.

During 2000 to 2003, Central repowered the Jeffrey, J1, and J2 hydro plants to improve the efficiency of the units and to maintain the high reliability expected of the hydroplants. These units now utilize greaseless bushings throughout the wicket gates and turbine pit to ensure that contaminants are not added to the water.

The J-2 Hydrocycling Agreement went into effect in August 2007 to address various USFWS concerns regarding the impact that cycling may be having on listed species and their habitat. This was the latest settlement Central has executed to address concerns about endangered and threatened species.

Certification History

October 21, 2013: The Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project has been certified for a second five year term of low impact certification, effective May 22, 2013 and expiring May 22, 2018.

May 22, 2013: Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has submitted an application for recertification of the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project.

December 19, 2008: The Kingsley Dam Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective May 22, 2008 and expiring May 22, 2013.

May 22, 2008: Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has submitted an application for certification of the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project. A 60 day comment period for public comments on the application for certification will remain open until July 22, 2008.


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