NewsNews

Controlled flooding causes suspension of upstream work at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Controlled flooding causes suspension of upstream work at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

May 26

Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), on May 25, authorized a controlled flooding of the upstream cofferdam and intake structure excavation at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP). MRES is building the project at the existing Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa.

MRES authorized the controlled flooding in anticipation of the reservoir level reaching the work platform due to recent rainfalls in the Des Moines River watershed.

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Safety Assurance Review affirms quality work at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Safety Assurance Review affirms quality work at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

May 12

An Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) Panel, May 2-3, conducted the third Safety Assurance Review of construction work at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project and issued a favorable report.

The four-member panel of experts was at the project site on the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa, to review reports, tour the facilities, observe construction activities, and examine various construction elements. Safety Assurance Reviews of hydroelectric projects are required by the Water Resource Development Act of 2007. 

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Safety of visitors is top concern near the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Apr 06

Camping season will soon be here and visitors will be making plans to enjoy the beautiful Lake Red Rock recreation areas. Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) wants to remind everyone that construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project is still underway and the construction zone is not open to the public. MRES is building the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.

Fishermen, campers, and others are reminded to refrain from entering restricted areas near the Red Rock Dam.  “The safety of the public, as well as the construction workers, is a primary concern for MRES and for everyone involved in the project,” said MRES Director of Energy Services and Communications Joni Livingston.

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First piece of equipment goes in at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

First piece of equipment goes in at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Dec 29

For almost a year and a half, construction work at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) consisted of “deconstruction” or site preparation work. Temporary coffer dams and a dike were installed to allow work on dry ground, concrete retaining walls were poured, and more than 200,000 cubic yards of dirt and bedrock were excavated; all to prepare for the construction of a power house and water intake structure.

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Heller calls for streamlined permitting for hydro projects

Aug 17

MRES CEO Tom Heller participated in a panel discussion May 6 during a U.S. Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) in Des Moines.

Heller called on the federal government to streamline the permitting process for developing hydroelectric projects at existing dams. He pointed out that the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has recently completed an assessment of the ability of existing non-powered dams across the U.S. to generate electricity.

According to the study, there are more than 80,000 non-powered facilities. "The study found that more than 50,000 of these are suitable to support a total of 12 gigawatts of clean, renewable baseload hydropower," Heller said.

Heller told participants that MRES and the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency are constructing the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP), a 36-megawatt hydropower plant on the existing Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa. RRHP is expected to be operational in 2018.

"This project was mentioned in the President's Climate Action Plan in June 2013 as being listed on the Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard to demonstrate improved permitting for hydropower projects," Heller said. "We were pleased to be recognized, however, we are frustrated that despite the recognition, it will take 13 years to get this project done when it is completed in 2018." Construction of the plant comprises only four of those years.

Heller said that facilities such as new hydropower and pumped storage plants take much too long to come online due to the disjointed permitting process. "These facilities could be providing significant generation and storage services," he said. "There needs to be [hydro licensing] reform. It shouldn't take 13 years to build a hydroprower facility. There needs to be more value placed on storage in the market for hydro to get built."

Energy legislation passed by the Senate (S.212) contains some language that begins permitting reform, however more is needed. The legislation designates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for hydropower permitting, but Heller said that more needs to be done to streamline hydropower permitting so facilities can be built in a reasonable timeframe.

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