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

NewsNews

Home

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.

Work to begin next week on Red Rock project transmission line

Dec 31

Crews will begin working next week to clear foliage in preparation for construction of an electric transmission line that will run about 4.5 miles from the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project to the Pella West Substation. The line is necessary to get power from the hydroelectric plant, which is under construction at the Red Rock Dam, to a point where it can be distributed.

The transmission line will run along Highway T15 northward until it reaches G-28 and then will run eastward along Fifield Road to West 11th Street in Pella where it will run northward to the substation.

The entire 69-kilovolt line will be in the public right-of-way, except where overhang or pole placement easements have been obtained from land owners, and will include single-pole structures with no guy wires.

Missouri River Energy Services, which is building the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project, plans to have the transmission portion of the project completed by spring 2016. The hydroelectric plant itself is expected to be completed and operational by spring 2018.

When it is completed, the plant will be capable of providing enough clean, renewable hydroelectricity to supply the electrical needs of about 18,000 homes.

Missouri River Energy Services is an organization of 60 member municipalities, including Pella, in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Each member owns and operates a local electric distribution utility.

Read More
Upstream work at hydroelectric plant temporarily suspended

Upstream work at hydroelectric plant temporarily suspended

Dec 21

Work on the upstream side of the Red Rock Dam at the hydroelectric project will be temporarily suspended as water levels are expected to rise to an elevation of 764 feet by Christmas Day.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently announced that it expects the rise in water levels following heavy rains that dumped three inches in much of the Red Rock Dam drainage basin over a two-day period Dec. 12 and 13. The dam is located on the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa.

Work has been under way at the 750-foot elevation on the upstream side of the dam as crews prepare the site to build an intake structure for the hydroelectric plant that will be operated by Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) of Sioux Falls, S.D. 

Crews have demobilized, moving equipment and materials to higher ground, in preparation for the anticipated high water levels. All upstream work will be temporarily suspended until water levels return to normal. Work is continuing as usual on the downstream side of the dam. 

Read More

Safety is first priority during blasting at hydro project

Nov 27

Blasting of bedrock to prepare for the construction of a powerhouse is proceeding as designed at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) near Pella, IA.  Approximately 21,000 cubic yards of bedrock has been removed from the powerhouse excavation, with approximately 11,300 cubic yards yet to be removed.  Blasting began Oct. 28 to loosen the bedrock so that it can be removed from the site. 

Watch the two videos here:
Nov. 2, 2015 Video
Nov. 3, 2015 Video

The safety of the public and workers continues to be of the utmost importance; therefore, additional safety precautions are taken before, during, and after each blast.  In preparation for each blast, explosives are placed into holes that are strategically drilled into the bedrock.  Large rubber pads are placed on top of the explosives to minimize flying rock and debris. 

Before the explosives are ignited, a warning siren sounds throughout the area to indicate the blast will take place in 10 minutes and all workers move to designated safe areas.  A second warning siren sounds 5 minutes before the explosives are ignited. Traffic is stopped and Highway T-15 is closed during the entire blasting sequence. Variable message boards and additional signage provide advance warnings of the road closures.

Spotters watch each blast for any irregularities or other problems. Following the blast, the spotters check in and give their reports. Next, a worker goes down to the blast site to verify that a device called the “tattletale” has received the blast signal. The charges are wired together in a series with an electrical charge setting off the explosives one at a time.  The tattletale is the last device in the series.  If the tattletale received the signal, the crew can be assured that all of the explosives have discharged. Once that assurance is verified, the “all clear” signal is given and Highway T-15 is immediately reopened.  Road closures have typically been only 10 to 15 minutes in duration.  However, longer closures may be needed in the future if one or more of the charges fails to ignite. 

Excavation using the blasting method is expected to continue through mid-December. 

Read More
Excavation at hydro project site now includes blasting

Excavation at hydro project site now includes blasting

Oct 28

Excavation for the powerhouse and tailrace at the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) site at the Lake Red Rock Dam has now reached bedrock, which means that explosives will be needed to remove the final layers of bedrock before the powerhouse foundation can be set. 

Excavation using explosives starts with holes being drilled into the bedrock.  Explosives are then placed in the holes and ignited causing the rock to crack and splinter.  Crews can then break up and haul the rock away from the site. The first blast occurred at 12:35 p.m., Wednesday and went very well, according to Ray Wahle, Power Supply and Operations director at Missouri River Energy Services (MRES). “We plan to excavate in this manner over a two-month period,” Wahle said. “The powerhouse, where electricity from the project will be generated, will be located at that spot.”

Read More

Intermittent road closures planned for T-15 over dam

Oct 23

Highway T-15, at the Lake Red Rock Dam, will be closed for short durations beginning Oct. 27 as work continues on the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) at the dam site.

The road closures, which will occur between the hours of 8 a.m., and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, will be less than an hour in length and are necessary for the safety of the public and crews working on RRHP.

Variable Message Boards will be posted along T-15 on both the Pella and Knoxville sides of the dam to inform drivers of the closures. The intermittent, short-duration road closures are expected to continue until late December, and a separate press release will be issued once the need for the closures has passed.

Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), which supplies wholesale electricity and energy services to 60 communities, including Pella, in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, is building RRHP. When the project is completed in 2018, it will be the second largest hydropower facility in Iowa and will be capable of supplying enough electricity to meet the needs of 18,000 homes.

“We regret that these road closures will cause inconveniences to people in the area, particularly those who use T-15,” said MRES Director of Member Services and Communications Joni Livingston. “But the safety of the public and of the workers at the project site remains our primary concern.”

Read More