The Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency won a Nov. 25 drawing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, giving it first dibs on a preliminary permit for a hydroelectric project on the Mississippi River.
The commission held the drawing to determine priority between competing preliminary permit applications with identical filing times. In the event that the commission concludes that neither of the applicants’ plans is better adapted than the other to develop, conserve, and utilize in the public interest the water resources of the region at issue, the priority established by the drawing serves as the tiebreaker. The other competitor was Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund III LLC.
The proposed projects are:
- The Lock+ project would consist of a steel frame modular hydropower system with 50 turbines. Each of the turbines will have a nameplate capacity of about 1.5 MW based on a recorded net head of 21 feet. The entire system of turbines should produce approximately 75 MW. The expected annual output would be 427,050 MWh.
- The WMMPA project, which won the permit priority, would consist of installing micro-turbines in a steel structure, with a project total design capacity of 149.4 MW. The expected average annual energy generation would be 445.4 GWh.
The proposed project is to be placed immediately downstream of the existing Melvin Price Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River at river mile 200.78 beside Alton, Ill. The counties on either side of the dam are Madison County, Ill., and St. Charles County, Mo. The Melvin Price Lock and Dam is owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.