Developers hire Ames Construction for 36-MW Iowa hydro project

The boards of directors of Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) and Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) have approved moving forward with the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project and they chose Ames Construction as the general contractor.

The hydro plant will be built at the existing Red Rock Dam along the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa. With a nameplate capacity of 36.4 MW, it will be the second largest hydroelectric plant in the state of Iowa. At certain times of the year, when water is plentiful, the plant will be capable of generating up to 55 MW.

“Since we first announced our intentions to build the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project in 2011, we have been working our way through an intense, time-consuming regulatory process with state and federal agencies,” said MRES CEO Tom Heller in a March 27 statement.

Earlier in March, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the final two approvals needed before construction of the project can begin. Construction of the Red Rock project could begin late this year, with the plant ready for commercial operation in the second quarter of 2018.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2013 approved some design changes requested by the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency for the Red Rock project. The project is located at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam on the Des Moines River. The Corps operates the dam for flood control and recreation purposes, providing a daily discharge based on stream flow and reservoir conditions.

The project, as licensed, would include:

  • a powerhouse located directly downstream of the existing spillway that will house two 18.2-MW generators with vertical Kaplan turbines and have a total installed capacity of 36.4 MW;
  • aeration systems installed on the project turbines;
  • air injection on the project turbines; and
  • a 4.5-mile-long, 69-kV transmission line.

MRES is an organization of 61 municipalities in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. WMMPA will provide financing for the project on behalf of MRES. WMMPA is made up of MRES members in the state of Minnesota and has provided financing for all of the major generating and transmission facilities that MRES uses to serve its member municipal electric systems.

Ames Construction is headquartered in Burnsville, Minn., and has offices in several locations throughout the Midwest, Western U.S. and Canada.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.