Loup Power District celebrates 80th anniversary
The Loup River Public Power District in Nebraska invested $7.2 million in 1933 to build its 35-mile long Loup Canal, two powerhouses, a diversion dam and other facilities. The Depression-era project brought jobs and electricity to rural Nebraska.
Today, Loup is spending more than that original investment, in nominal dollars, to relicense the project, said Loup President and CEO Neal Suess. The project was last relicensed in 1984, two years before enactment of the Electric Consumers Protection Act, the law that eliminated public preference in relicensing of hydroelectric projects and added major environmental reviews to the licensing process.
The Loup hydroelectric system is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Loup was the first public power district in Nebraska, which is the nation's only all-public power state. The utility is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Loup was also one of the founding members of the American Public Power Association.
Harold Kramer was one of three men credited with establishing Loup River Public Power District. He was present at the September 1940 meeting in Washington, D.C., when representatives of public power utilities from across the country gathered and decided to form a national association. In 1942, Kramer, on loan from Loup, spent six months in Washington as the new association's first general manager.
Loup River Power District's story is related in a new Public Power magazine article, "An Economic Engine," available on publicpower.org. The article will be published in June in the magazine's print edition.
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