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Xcel installing warning sirens near 5.4-MW Menomonie hydroelectric project

Midwestern utility Xcel Energy has begun installing warning sirens on its hydroelectric projects along the Red Cedar River, HydroWorld.com has learned.

"Our detailed emergency planning process ensures that we evaluate many different scenarios," says Matt Miller, coordinator of Xcel's emergency action planning group. "While a major dam failure is unlikely, today’s technology allows us to install sirens that include a distinct tone and voice message that can quickly and safely warn residents downstream of our hydroelectric facilities."

The solar-powered warning sirens will be attached to 55-foot-tall poles and installed in two locations downstream from the 5.4-MW Menomonie hydropower plant.

In the event of an emergency, the company says the sirens will emit a "whoop tone," then an audio recording with spoken instructions.

Xcel, which operates 19 hydroelectric plants that have a combined output capacity of about 260 MW, has previously installed similar systems at its facilities along the Namekagon and Chippewa rivers.

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