Sand Demand


By Annie Andrews

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It's arguably the most annoying commodity on the market, but the pebble in energy manufacturer's shoes is building Nebraska's rural economy one grain at a time.

Sand is being pushed down miles deep into rock, aiding in the fracking process. Although it's an old technology, it's one of the newest forms of energy hitting the market with Genoa at the heart.

Our story starts down this dirt road and into the depths of the Loup River. "They've been dredging that canal since the 1930s," said Dave Kendle the Director of Operations at the Preferred Sands Genoa Plant.

For 70 years, a house boat machine has kept the water into Loup Power District's powerhouses flowing by taking one thing out.

"There's 80 million tons of sand there and we use about 2 million a year," said Kendle. And the mountain he stood on continues to grow. "They do this twice a year for a month and a half every year," he said about the dredging.

That process produces a million and half more tons of sand a year which had LPD getting worried at one point. "We were going for our third licenseā€¦and without Preferred Sands they may have questioned our ability to use another 30 years license because disposal issues," said Ron Ziola with LPD.

It's the age old case of one man's trash is another man's treasure. "It's been a boom for the economy in Nance County and Nebraska," said Kendle. After hiring 170 locals, their now the largest employer in Nance County and using a lot of LPD's electricity.

"We've also become one of their biggest customers," he said.

Nearly 100 percent of the sand heads out of state from Colorado to Texas and even Canada. The reason is because you can't find this type of sand at the beach and when you do come across it many times there's nowhere to go.

"You have to be located on the right spot, so you've got rail, electricity, water you've got all these things that all come together here and the nice thing is the reserve is inexpensive to mine," he said. "This site has a lot of things others don't."

But, the biggest thing others don't have is LPD dredging along.