Red Rock Hydroelectric Project developers choose construction firm

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 have chosen Ames Construction, Inc., as the general contractor.

The hydroelectric 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 megawatts, it will be the second largest hydroelectric plant in the State of Iowa. It will be capable of meeting the electrical needs of about 18,000 homes. At certain times of the year, when water is plentiful, the plant will be capable of generating up to 55 megawatts of power.

“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.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the final two approvals needed before construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) can begin. Those approvals were for the 408 process, which is designed to ensure that the project will not impact the Corps’ operations at Red Rock and that the project will be constructed safely, and for the 404 Permit, which covers dredge and fill for the project.

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

Construction of RRHP could begin late this year and the plant could be ready for commercial operation in the second quarter of 2018.

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For more information, contact MRES Director of Member and Public Relations Bill Radio, phone: 605-338-4042; e-mail: bill.radio@mrenergy.com.

2014 MRES Scholarship Program

Graduating high school seniors from MRES member communities are invited to apply for MRES scholarships. For more information about our scholarship program, click here.

Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency granted permit to study Gregory County Pumped Storage Project

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a preliminary permit to the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) to study a pumped storage hydroelectric project along the Missouri River in south central South Dakota. WMMPA filed for the permit July 30, 2013 to study the feasibility of the Gregory County Pumped Storage Project to be located on Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River in Gregory, Charles Mix, and Brule Counties in South Dakota.

WMMPA is an organization of 23 municipalities in the State of Minnesota that own and operate municipal electric distribution systems. All of the WMMPA members also are members of Missouri River Energy Services (MRES). WMMPA provides financing for generation and transmission facilities that are used to serve the wholesale electricity needs of 61 MRES member municipalities in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The history of the Gregory County concept dates back to 1977, when a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study identified the area as the best location on the Missouri River for a pumped storage project. Since that time, there have been several technical and economic studies related to the project.

A pumped storage project works by pumping water from a lower-elevation reservoir to a higher elevation reservoir, where the water is stored. Pumping would occur during low-cost times. Then, during times when electricity prices are high, the stored water is released through turbine-generators to produce electricity. “Gregory County has an added benefit in that it would provide the necessary control to support a significant amount of intermittent wind generation in the region,” said Ray Wahle, director of Power Supply and Operations for MRES. Wind energy facilities can only produce electricity when the wind is blowing, meaning that other generation sources are needed to maintain a reliable flow of energy.

If built, the Gregory County Pumped Storage Project would consist of a new upper reservoir with a storage capacity of 47,000 acre-feet, a powerhouse containing eight 100-megawatt turbine units, a new tailrace from the powerhouse to Lake Francis Case, a new substation and transmission lines, and other necessary facilities.

It is estimated that the annual generation of the project would be three million megawatt-hours of energy or enough to meet the electrical needs of 250,000 to 300,000 average homes.

The permit is in effect for three years or until WMMPA submits to the FERC a development application for the project and that application is accepted for filing.

For more information, contact MRES Member and Public Relations Director Bill Radio, phone: 605-338-4042;  e-mail: bill.radio@mrenergy.com.

Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington named to WMMPA Board of Directors

Rob Wolfington, the city manager at Benson, Minn., is the newest member of the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) Board of Directors.

Wolfington has served as Benson's city manager since September 1996. Prior to that, he served for more than four years as city administrator for Rushford, Minn.

WMMPA has provided financing for and owns the electric generation and transmission facilities used by Missouri River Energy Services (MRES). MRES is an organization of 61 member communities in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. All of the members own and operate municipal electric distribution systems. Twenty-three of the 24 Minnesota members of MRES make up the membership of WMMPA.

The WMMPA Board meets monthly in conjunction with the MRES Board.

Wolfington will complete the term of John Harren, formerly of Melrose, Minn. Harren has taken a new position with the Willmar (Minn.) Municipal Utilities.

3rd Quarter Financial Statements

The 3rd Quarter Financial Statements for Missouri River Energy Services and Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency are now available. Click here.

MRES awards contract for bike trail extension near Red Rock Dam

In conjunction with its plans to build a hydroelectric facility at the Red Rock Dam in Marion County, Iowa, the Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) Board of Directors approved a contract for construction of a 7,000-foot extension of the Volksweg Bike Trail near the dam.

Norris Asphalt Paving Co., of Ottumwa, Iowa, was the successful bidder for the bike trail project, which will extend from the Fifield Recreation Area to the Robert’s Creek Trailhead. Construction of the trail extension will begin soon and is projected to be completed in November.

Other features also are planned for the area, including picnic shelters, a playground, a fish-cleaning station, restroom, parking facilities, and water fountains. MRES is still developing a plan for completing those features.

MRES, an organization of 61 municipalities that own and operate electric distribution utilities, plans to begin construction of the hydroelectric power plant in early 2014. The project is slated for completion in late 2016. During construction, the project will provide 400-700 jobs and nearly $250 million of economic benefits to the four-county region.

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project will be the second largest hydroelectric plant in Iowa and will provide enough electricity for about 18,000 homes.

Two MRES members and one associate receive national recognition for reliability and safety practices

Three municipal electric systems that are affiliated with Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) were among the 90 public power utilities from across the nation to earn recognition from the American Public Power Association (APPA) for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.