FERC seeks input on permit for 12-MW Coon Rapids hydro project in Minnesota

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 12 issued a notice about an Aug. 15 application from the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Coon Rapids Hydroelectric Project, to be located on the Mississippi River at River Mile 866.2, about 11.5 miles north of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the three-year permit term.

This proposed project would consist of: an existing reservoir; the existing 1,455-foot-long, 30.8-foot-high Coon Rapids Dam with nine intermediate piers and ten spans with crest gates; an array of micro-turbines placed in front of two cast in place powerhouses; a 97-foot-long, 18-foot-wide, 19-foot-high reinforced concrete powerhouse located immediately downstream of the span 9 spillway section and a 103-foot-long, 18-foot-wide, 19-foot-high reinforced concrete powerhouse located immediately downstream of the span 10 spillway section with each powerhouse divided in half resulting in four bays in which the micro-turbines would be installed; two crane rails spanning the length of each powerhouse to remove the micro-turbine units for maintenance and lower them in place for generation; a tailrace made of steel draft tubes discharging directly into the Mississippi River; a third powerhouse 60-foot-wide by 80-foot-long containing the controls for the dam’s crest gates and necessary electrical and mechanical equipment to support the micro-turbines; and a 550-foot-long, 13.8-KV underground transmission line connecting to an Xcel Energy substation.

The estimated annual generation of the proposed Coon Rapids Project would be 62,790 megwatt-hours.

Each of the two underwater powerhouses will be divided in half by a newly constructed intermediate pier, resulting in four bays in which the micro-turbines will be installed. Each bay is expected to contain five micro-turbines. Thus, there would be a total of 20 micro-turbines, each with an expected design flow of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs). The rated power of each micro-turbine is expected to be 600 kW at a net design head of 18 feet. Thus, maximum project total output would be 12 MW.

The applicant contact is: Raymond J. Wahle P.E., Missouri River Energy Services, 3724 W. Avera Drive, P.O. Box 88920, Sioux Falls, SD 57109, phone (605) 330-6963; rwahle@mrenergy.com.

The deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications is 60 days from the issuance of this Sept. 12 notice.

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.