Missouri River Energy Services announced today plans to proceed with the planning and development of a hydroelectric generating facility at the Red Rock Reservoir located on the Des Moines River south of Newton.
The Red Rock Dam, located about three miles southwest of Pella, is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Federal Energy Regulating Commission earlier this year granted a license for the Red Rock hydroelectric generating facilities to CRD Hydroelectric, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nelson Energy, LLC. The project was initially conceived and started by CRD and its parent, Nelson Energy.
Last fall, Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency of Sioux Falls, S.D., entered into an agreement to acquire the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project from Nelson Energy. The project witll be constructed and operated by Missouri River Energy and owned by Western Minnesota Municipal Power.
"The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project gives Missouri River Energy Services another generating resource in our on-going efforts to diversify our resource portfolio," said Tom Heller, CEO of Missouri River. "The long-term life of a hydro facility such as Red Rock allows Missouri River to spread the costs over an extended period of time to enable us to keep our costs reasonably stable through the addition of a base load, renewable resource. This project also will provide significant economic benefits of nearly $250 million to the four-county region during construction from 2013 through 2015. During that three-year time frame, our economic analysis finds that the project will bring an average of 448 jobs to the area ramping up to 732 jobs in 2014 and slowly decreasing until completion in late 2015."
The design of the hydroelectric plant will be approximately 36 megawatts, but the project will be capable of generating up to 55 megawatts at certain times of the year when water is plentiful.
Once operational in early 2016, the Red Rock hydroelectric plant will be the second largest in the state of Iowa. The largest is in Keokuk on the Mississippi River.
Missouri River Energy is a not-for-profit agency that provides long-term power supply to 60 municipally-owned electric distribution utilities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The City of Pella recently became a member of the agency and announced plans to retire its steam generation facility in conjunction with purchasing power from Missouri River Energy. The Pella steam plant uses coal as its fuel source.