Missouri River Energy adding new hydro, solar projects to mix

Missouri Basin Municipal Power Agency d/b/a Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) is currently working on development of two renewable energy projects, the agency said in a June 30 integrated resource plan filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

The first such project is the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project, located at the existing Red Rock Reservoir and Dam on the Des Moines River in Iowa. The dam is owned by the federal government and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project is owned by member Western Minnesota Muncipal Power Agency and will be operated by MRES.

When completed in 2018, Red Rock will be capable of generating 36 MW of baseload electricity under normal spring and summer water levels, and up to 55 MW at times of high reservoir levels. Red Rock is an attractive option for MRES because it will generate clean, renewable, and reliable baseload energy. Hydropower is the only demonstrated renewable resource that is able to add much-needed inertia to electric grid as a baseload resource.

“This investment in hydropower is the first in this region in decades, and further diversifies the MRES generation portfolio with even more capacity from another non-emitting resource,” said the IRP.

Notable is that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator on May 27 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission an Amended and Restated Generator Interconnection Agreement with the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and interconnecting transmission owner Cedar Falls Utilities in Iowa. Said the revised GIA about the Red Rock project: “Interconnection Customer shall install J329, a 58 MVA hydro facility, rated 55 MW net, with all studies performed at or below these outputs. The Generating Facility is composed of two (2) 29 MVA synchronous generators in a hydro generating facility. The Interconnection Service provided under this agreement is 55 MW of Conditional ERIS that will become a total of 55 MW ERIS and/or NRIS where NRIS cannot exceed 55 MW upon completion of all Network Upgrades identified in this GIA.” The Point of Interconnection for this project to the grid will be at the Pella West substation. 

The second project mentioned in the IRP is the Pierre (South Dakota) Solar Project, which will be the first MRES utility-scale solar energy resource. The project was recently announced and will begin construction in July 2016. When completed at the end of 2016, it will be capable of providing up to 1 MW of solar energy, making it the largest solar project in the state of South Dakota. MRES will purchase all of the output from Pierre Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy.

MRES is a not-for-profit, member-based, joint-action agency that provides power supply, transmission, and related services to its member municipalities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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.