Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) has announced its intent to proceed with the planning and development of a hydroelectric generating facility at the Red Rock Reservoir on the Des Moines River.

The Red Rock Dam is located about three miles southwest of Pella, Iowa, and is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year granted a license for the Red Rock hydroelectric generating facilities to CRD Hydroelectric LLC (CRD), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nelson Energy LLC. The project was originally conceived and initial development was started by CRD and its parent Nelson Energy.

Last fall, Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) entered into an agreement to acquire the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) from Nelson Energy. The project will be constructed and operated by MRES and financed and owned by WMMPA.

“The RRHP gives MRES another generating resource in our ongoing efforts to diversify our resource portfolio,” said Tom Heller, MRES CEO. “The long-term life of a hydro facility such as RRHP allows MRES to spread the costs over an extended period of time to enable us to keep our costs reasonably stable through the addition of a baseload renewable resource. This project also will provide significant economic benefits of nearly $250 million to the four-county region during construction from 2013 through 2015. During that three-year timeframe, our economic analysis finds that the project will bring an average of 448 jobs to the area ramping up to 732 jobs in 2014 and slowly decreasing until completion in late 2015,” he said.

Ray Wahle, MRES Director of Power Supply and Operations said, “The design output of RRHP will be approximately 36 megawatts, but the project will be capable of generating up to 55 megawatts at certain times of the year when water is plentiful. This flexibility will further enhance the options for MRES in meeting our member loads in the most cost-effective and reliable manner.”

MRES expects the construction of RRHP to begin in 2013 with the project becoming operational by early 2016. When operational, RRHP will be the second-largest hydropower generating facility in the State of Iowa.

MRES is a not-for-profit joint-action agency that provides long-term power supply to 60 municipally owned electric distribution utilities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Pella, Iowa, recently became a member of MRES and announced plans to retire its steam generation facility in conjunction with purchasing power from MRES. The steam plant uses coal as its fuel source.

Nelson Energy LLC has more than 130 megawatts of hydropower generating facilities under various stages of development throughout the U.S.

For more information, contact MRES Director of Member and Public Relations Bill Radio at 605-330-6952 or at bradio@mrenergy.com.