2,000-cubic-yard concrete pour set to take place at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

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

Heller calls for streamlined permitting for hydro projects

Corps of Engineers officers visit Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

MRES awarded for worker safety at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Work to begin next week on Red Rock project transmission line

Upstream work at hydroelectric plant temporarily suspended

Safety is first priority during blasting at hydro project

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Excavation at hydro project site now includes blasting

Intermittent road closures planned for T-15 over dam

Diaphragm wall completed at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Six-hour road closures planned for T-15 Aug. 3-5

MRES releases new time-lapse video about RRHP

Panel of experts commends work at Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Intermittent road closures planned for T-15 over dam

RRHP construction continues despite water levels

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Friday

Local businesses seeing increased activity related to RRHP construction

Upstream construction moves to higher elevation

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Tuesday, May 12

Lake Red Rock area campground and recreational facilities map now posted

Video GalleryVideo Gallery

RRHP Construction Progress 2016 Year in Review

RRHP Construction Progress - May 2016

RRHP Construction Progress - Blasting - Nov. 3, 2015

RRHP Construction Progress - Blasting - Nov. 2, 2015

RRHP Rebar Cage Transport - May 2015

RRHP Construction Progress March 2015

RRHP Construction Progress February 2015

RRHP Construction Progress November 2014

National Hydropower Association Video


 

Dry weather allows for continued headway at hydro project

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Thursday, April 30

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Tuesday, April 28

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Thursday

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Tuesday, April 21

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Thursday

Lake Red Rock area camground and recreational facility openings

Safety concerns mean access is restricted in hydroelectric project construction areas

MRES releases new RRHP progress video

Intermittent road restrictions continue as hydro project progresses

Short-term road closures planned for early Friday

Downstream work prepares for RRHP powerhouse construction

New video released on the progress of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

T15 now open to traffic

One lane of T-15 slated to be reopened Feb. 14

Independent review panel studies and approves construction thus far at RRHP

Work continues around the clock at RRHP

Hydropower in America’s New Energy Era

MRES releases new RRHP progress video

Work on the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project continues

RRHP Construction Progress

T15 to be closed to all traffic beginning October 30

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the level of the lake be dropped to work on the hydro project? 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be the controlling agency over the water level of the reservoir and the release of water from the reservoir. The reservoir’s primary purpose is to manage flood control. That will not change. The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction.

Once RRHP is complete will they flood us out downstream while it is operating?
The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction.

How long will the road over the dam be closed?
Since the start of the construction phase there has been a lane closure of the south-bound lane of Highway T-15 during the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. At some point after Labor Day 2014, there will be a 10 to 12 week closure scheduled for the installation of a cutoff wall in the center of Highway T-15. Once this phase of the project is completed, the road will remain open except for some periodic, short-term lane closures.  

Will there be tours once the plant is built?
During construction tours on the site will not be available.  Tours of RRHP are still in the planning phase for when the plant is operational in 2018 and beyond. The dam’s security is of the highest priority, and plant staffing and operational schedule are being considered to develop a tour schedule that will accommodate as many as possible.

Will the bike trail be closed?
Public safety is of utmost concern to MRES and its contractors, so it is necessary to close sections of the trail for the duration of the project. Due to the size of this project and the small amount of open area in the vicinity of the power house and intake structures, it is necessary to use some of the grassy areas between 216th Place and 198th Place as equipment storage areas for the project. Trucks and other heavy equipment will be crossing the section of bike trail from Howell Station campground to the North Overlook on a daily basis. 

Prior to starting construction, MRES added new recreation facilities so that area residents and visitors will have additional opportunities to enjoy the Red Rock area during and after the construction of RRHP. MRES expanded the Volksweg Trail 1.25 miles from the Fifield Recreation Area to the new Robert’s Creek Trailhead.

Can we still fish in the North Tailwater area? 
In the interest of public safety the entire North Tailwater area will be closed to the public for the duration of RRHP’s construction phase, which is currently scheduled to last four years. This includes vehicle, foot, and biking traffic. Prior to starting construction, MRES improved the South Tailwater recreation area with an additional fish cleaning station, playground/sandbox, picnic shelter and additional parking spaces. 

Is noise a problem during construction?
Most of the construction work will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. There will be some pile-driving operations that will produce a methodical thumping sound. Local residents also will hear the drone of the diesel engines on the cranes, excavators, and dozers that are common around large construction sites.

Will RRHP be noisy?
The noise from the power house during operation will be lower than the sound of the water currently being discharged from the dam. 

Will the river channel be dredged?
No. The project will not affect the river channel depth. 

Will the plant continue to run when there is a high demand for power and the lake level is low?
During construction and once RRHP is operational, the USACE will be the controlling agency over the water level of the reservoir and the release of water from the reservoir. The reservoir’s primary purpose is to manage flood control. The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction.  The less water the USACE releases, the less electricity will be generated.  If minimal releases are planned by the USACE due to low lake levels, the plant will not operate until adequate releases are resumed.

Will the construction phase close down the campgrounds? (North Overlook & Howell Station)
During construction both the Howell Station and North Overlook campgrounds will remain operational per the current mode of operation. There will be increased traffic on 198th Place, 216th Place, and T-15 due to construction, so please be aware of the traffic on the roads.  

Is there construction traffic?
Yes. During construction there will be additional traffic. It will require heavy equipment, including graders, bulldozers, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks, and large cranes. Construction equipment is similar to farm equipment--it is large and moves slowly. The contractor will have flaggers and extra signage so follow the direction of the flaggers.   

RRHP Groundbreaking Ceremony

MRES Officially Breaks Ground on RRHP

Excavation

Annual Energy

Concrete Fact

8.5 Seconds

Recreation MitigationRecreation Mitigation

Red Rock North Tailwater area to be closed

What is Hydroelectricity Button

Completion of $351 million bond issue

Ames Construction chosen

Our Commitment

Energy for Today and in the Future

Our commitment to clean, renewable resources reaches back more than 50 years, when our member utilities began to purchase energy from the federal hydroelectric facilities on the Missouri River. Today, 58 of our 60 members hold hydropower allocations for the energy produced at these hydroelectric plants.

“The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project gives MRES another reliable generating resource in our ongoing efforts to diversify our resource portfolio.”
Tom Heller, Chief Executive Officer, MRES

Media InquiriesMedia Inquiries

Fish/Wildlife/WaterFish/Wildlife/Water

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project has undergone a rigorous environmental review process that included the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and numerous other agencies and stakeholders. This process ensured that the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project will have minimal or no impacts on fish, wildlife, and water quality.

Recreational EnhancementsRecreational Enhancements

MRES added new recreation facilities so that area residents and visitors will have additional opportunities to enjoy the Red Rock area during and after the construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.

“We know that the Red Rock area is very popular for fishing, camping and other water activities,” said MRES Director of Member and Public Relations Bill Radio. “We added these new recreation facilities to lessen the impact that we will have on the recreation activities during the construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.”

The following is a list, by location, of features that have been added.

  • In the South Tailwater Area, MRES enhanced existing features with a picnic shelter and group grill, new playground with play features, a fish-cleaning station with shelter, and additional parking spaces.
  • MRES constructed the new Robert’s Creek Trailhead which includes a restroom, picnic shelter with group grill, parking lot, and a kiosk for posting information.
  • In Cordova Park, MRES added a large picnic shelter to existing features. This area will be closed to the public until Marion County finishes work in the area.
  • MRES also expanded the Volksweg Bike Trail 1.25 miles from the Fifield Recreation Area to the new Robert’s Creek Trailhead.
  • In addition, MRES has purchased two water fountains and two additional group grills that will be installed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Marion County at a later date at sites they select.

ContactContact

About UsAbout Us

MRES Members

About Missouri River Energy Services

MRES provides wholesale electric service and other energy services to 61 communities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Each of these members owns and operates its own municipal electric distribution system. MRES, headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., is a not-for-profit joint-action agency, and is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors elected by and from the ranks of our member representatives.

About Western Minesota Municipal Power Agency

WMMPA obtains the financing for and is the owner of the power supply and transmission facilities used to serve MRES members under the terms of a power supply contract between WMMPA and MRES.

Photo GalleryPhoto Gallery

EnvironmentEnvironment

Missouri River’s commitment to clean, renewable resources reaches back more than 45 years, when our member utilities began to purchase energy from the federal hydroelectric facilities on the Missouri River. Today, 59 of our 61 members hold hydropower allocations for the energy produced at these hydroelectric plants.

Why Hydropower?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydropower – a clean, renewable resource that uses the power of running water to perform work – has been around for more than 2,000 years. Hydroelectric facilities use the power of flowing water as it moves downstream. Turbines and generators convert the energy into electricity, which is then delivered to homes and businesses. Hydropower continues to be a popular renewable resource, and it accounts for 8 percent of total U.S. electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Benefits of Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

  • Clean, renewable resource with no emissions
  • Provides minimal impact on the environment, including fisheries
  • Serves as an additional clean, baseload resource
  • Provides a domestic source of energy

ScheduleSchedule

All dates listed are subject to change without notice.
Projection Dates
Begin Site Construction
3rd Quarter 2014
Finish Upstream Construction
Early 2019
Final Testing
Mid-2019
Final Completion
Mid-2019

Project OverviewProject Overview

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and will be located at the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River, about 3.8 miles southwest of downtown Pella in Marion County, Iowa; approximately 45 miles southeast of Des Moines, Iowa; and approximately 143 miles above the confluence of the Des Moines River with the Mississippi River.

USACE constructed Red Rock Dam between 1960 and 1969 to impound Lake Red Rock for flood control, recreational, and fish and wildlife purposes. The dam, reservoir, and adjacent land are owned by the United States of America and operated by the Rock Island District of the USACE.

The RRHP facilities will be constructed immediately left (northeast) of the existing spillway largely within the envelopment section where the earthfill wraps around the end of the concrete dam. The approach channel and intake structure will be located upstream of the dam. Two penstocks will run from the intake structure through penetrations in the dam to the powerhouse located just left of the existing spillway tailrace. A tailrace channel will extend from the downstream end of the powerhouse to the existing spillway tailrace. Refer to Figure 1 and Figure 2 below for three-dimensional views of the Project features.

         

Figure 1: Upstream Features of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project. 


 

Figure 2: Downstream Features of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.

Each penstock will supply water to a vertical Kaplan-type hydraulic turbine and each turbine will be directly connected to a generator. See Figure 3 below, which shows a typical vertical Kaplan turbine. 


Figure 3: Typical Vertical-Kaplan Turbine/Generator

Electricity from each generator will then be transferred through the plant to the plant substation, which will transform the electricity from 13,800 volts to 69,000 volts. From there, the electricity will flow through the transmission line to a substation located on the West side of Pella, Iowa, which connects to the regional transmission grid. The rated project generating capacity will be 36.4 MW at normal reservoir level (El. 742) and a combined flow rate of 8,900 cfs. The combined maximum generating capacity will be 55 MW at higher reservoir levels and/or flows. The estimated annual energy produced by the project will be 178,000 MWh, or enough to power approximately 18,000 homes.

RRHP will be operated in a “run-of-release” mode. This means that the USACE will determine how much water will be released from Lake Red Rock, just like they do today, and all, a portion, or none of the water will be directed through the hydroelectric facility depending on the amount of water that the USACE chooses to release.

Construction of RRHP will employ 150-200 workers at the peak of construction. Once online, the plant will create two permanent positions. 

For additional information about the dam or about RRHP, please email info@mrenergy.com, or call us at (641) 620-1022.

RRHP construction continues despite water levels

Jul 02

Recent rain storms throughout central and southern Iowa have caused the Red Rock reservoir to rise 12 feet over a six-day period in late June to an elevation on July 1 of about 770 feet. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has not increased the release of water through the Red Rock Dam during this period, causing the reservoir level to rise to its current level. The 770-foot water level represents 60 percent of Red Rock Lake’s flood storage capacity. 

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Short-term road closures planned for early hours Friday

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Friday

Jun 25

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Friday


A rolling roadblock will occur for up to two hours between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m., Friday, June 26, to accommodate the movement of a large re-bar cage that will be used in the construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.

Road closures will begin at the North Tailwater construction area and move down 216th Place to T-17, south on T-17 to G-46, west on G-46 to T-15 and north on T-15 to the upstream construction area of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project. As the re-bar cage movement is completed at each section of road, that section will be reopened.

In addition, T-15 will be restricted to one lane throughout the day and a pilot car and flaggers will be directing traffic until the concrete placement is completed.

# # # # #

For more information, contact Vern Cochran at Missouri River Energy Services, phone: 605-321-9569.

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Local businesses seeing increased activity related to RRHP construction

Jun 19

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) undeniably is having an impact on Pella, Iowa, and the surrounding area. Construction of the massive project has brought with it temporary closures of some facilities, but it also has brought the additions of some new recreational and picnic areas.

In addition to an influx of workers at RRHP, it also has been good for some area businesses. Take Skyline Ready Mix. Skyline’s Pella operation is providing the concrete for the project. That means a lot of concrete. As of mid-May, the company had poured more than 19,000 yards including some test pours. “We have about 100,000 yards to go,” said Skyline’s Operations Manager Arlan “Ott” Van Dusseldorp.

“We did about 100 yards of test pours to get dialed in on the right workable mix. One pour takes eight to 12 hours. That’s 680-780 yards at 10 yards on a truck and we have three trucks pouring at once,” Van Dusseldorp said.

Skyline is owned by Bruening Rock Products, Inc., and when it took on the job, Arvin Lanser, who had more than 20 years of experience working in the concrete industry, was serving as operations manager. Lanser died suddenly March 27 and Van Dusseldorp was thrown into the job. “Arvin was hesitant about even bidding because of the challenges of the concrete temperature specs,” Van Dusseldorp said. He credits Lanser for leading him in the right direction. “There are some decisions I make during a job that I can’t believe I’m even making. But it was because Arvin was training me to do this job even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.”

Van Dusseldorp also credits Ames Construction – the general contractor for RRHP – with seeing to it that things go as smoothly as possible. “Ames has been really fantastic. They are building an ice plant to cool the concrete down in the summer,” he said. “Between our operation and the ice plant, we’ll be the second largest electricity consumer in Pella. We also had a heater installed to keep concrete warm enough in the winter.”

Bruening also has allowed Skyline to get the personnel and equipment it needs. “We never had a truck mechanic before, but we have one now and we’re having fewer breakdowns.”

Skyline also has rented up to six trucks from other companies at times. The company has 14 trucks of its own bringing the total available to 20 when needed.  “I want to personally thank all of the employees of Skyline for doing such a great job,” Van Dusseldorp said.

Challenges in the Recipe

Ames has specific codes or recipes for different mixes of concrete for the project. Each code has different ratios of cement, rock, and water. Skyline is currently working with a “tremie” concrete mix, which is designed to be used under water and to tie various elements together. Tremie mix must stay fluid and workable for eight hours and be of the right consistency to bind together. It has a set time of 20 to 40 hours. Skyline’s tremie mix is currently setting up in 26 hours. To control the set time, Skyline used hot water for the winter pours and is using cold water now that the weather has gotten warmer.

At the end of August, when Skyline begins to pour the foundations for the powerhouse and intake structure, the recipe will change to a lightweight concrete mix made with man-made rock. This mix has to stay wet during the hot weather and can’t be allowed to dry too quickly. 

Van Dusseldorp said that Skyline is a very customer-oriented business and its customer relationships are very important. Because of its commitment to RRPH, Skyline has been unable to bid on some local projects. The company tries to maintain a ratio of three trucks dedicated to RRHP and one truck for other local projects. “We hope our local contractors will be understanding and that they will come back when this project is finished,” Van Dusseldorp said.

Business for auto dealer

Craig Ford has been in the car business for 15 years and in Pella for about seven years. Ford owns Pella Motors, a local company that has seen benefits from the development of RRHP.

Prior to coming to Pella and purchasing the dealership, Ford worked in the automobile business in Ankeny, Iowa. Before that he was in college and then served in the U.S. Army.

Pella Motors sells Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, and Ram vehicles, but, despite the owner’s name, it doesn’t sell Fords.

As it was beginning work on RRHP, Ames needed about 15 work trucks and issued its specifications and called for bids. Pella Motors won the bid. Ford said that one challenge was to try to get the right tool boxes for each truck. Because of delays caused by supplier problems with the order, Pella Motors had to rush to install the tool boxes in a three-hour period to meet Ames’ timeframe. 

Pella Motors also provides maintenance services for all of Ames’ trucks and is on hand to help if any breakdowns should occur. “We didn’t really have to gear up to prepare for this project – we sell a lot of vehicles,” Ford said. “I anticipate that Ames will need additional trucks in the future and I hope that we get the chance to provide them.”

Ford has developed a good relationship with many of the Ames employees and a personal relationship with some. They share an interest in the Knoxville races and in fast cars.

One Ames employee personally purchased a Dodge Challenger Hellcat 707 HP muscle car from Pella Motors. That model has a very limited production and is hard to come by, but Ford was able to get one and he says he enjoyed working on the deal.

“Ames Construction and its employees have been great ambassadors for the community of Pella.  They bought houses, bought vehicles, and bought materials locally whenever they could.  They are truly trying to be part of the community,” Ford said. 

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Upstream construction moves to higher elevation

Upstream construction moves to higher elevation

Jun 19

Crews at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) have completed work on one portion of a 240-foot diaphragm wall. The diaphragm wall is designed to hold back the existing Red Rock earthen dam and provide a channel for water to enter an intake structure that will send water to the hydroelectric turbine/generator. That work was conducted from a work platform at the 760-foot elevation on the upstream side of the Red Rock Dam. Crews are now working from a temporary platform that they constructed at the 781-foot elevation and will install five additional diaphragm wall concrete piers.

Reservoir water levels have been an ongoing concern for the project while work was under way at the 760-foot work platform. Water levels, as monitored daily by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have fluctuated with recent rainfall in the Des Moines River watershed area and hit a high level of 751.75-feet on June 16. The forecast is for the water level to reach 759-feet by June 21 or 22. Now that crews are working from the 781-foot platform, work can continue until the water level approaches that elevation.

On the downstream side of the dam, rip-rap is being placed on the banks of the closure dike to prevent erosion. The closure dike and a cofferdam will help keep water out of the site during the excavation and construction of the powerhouse. The cofferdam protects the site against high velocity water coming out of the tailrace. The closure dike protects against the smaller wave action in the cove just past the cofferdam. Dewatering efforts and pumping will continue throughout the duration of the construction as needed to keep this area dry. Excavation and reinforcement work is continuing in the area where the powerhouse will be located.

Missouri River Energy Services, which is constructing RRHP and will operate the plant once it is completed, reminds the public that the construction areas will remain closed for the duration of the hydro project. Closed areas include the North Tailwater Recreation Area, the North Overlook Picnic Area, and the Volksweg Bike Trail from Howell Station Campground to the North Overlook Picnic Area.

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Short-term road closures planned for early hours Tuesday, May 12

Short-term road closures planned for early hours Tuesday, May 12

May 11

A rolling roadblock will occur for up to two hours between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 12, to accommodate the movement of a large re-bar cage that will be used in the construction of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project.

Road closures will begin at the North Tailwater construction area and move down 216th Place to T-17, south on T-17 to G-46, west on G-46 to T-15 and north on T-15 to the upstream construction area of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project. As the re-bar cage movement is completed at each section of road, that section will be reopened.

In addition, T-15 will be restricted to one lane throughout the day and a pilot car and flaggers will be directing traffic until the concrete placement is completed.

# # # # #

For more information, contact Vern Cochran at Missouri River Energy Services, phone: 605-321-9569.

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