Construction begins on Iowa's 36.4-MW Red Rock hydropower plant

Red Rock Dam

The closure of the north tailwater area near Iowa's Red Rock Dam earlier signaled the beginning of construction on a 36.4 MW hydroelectric plant, Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) said earlier this week.

The plant, which recently received the last necessary approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is being built along existing USACE infrastructure on the Des Moines River.

Included in the closures are the North Tailwater Recreation Area of Lake Red Rock and a section of the Volksweg Trail.

"We understand that these closures will be an inconvenience to some people," MRES spokesman Bill Radio said. "But they are necessary for our contractors to build the hydropower project."

HydroWorld.com reported in March that MRES and co-developer Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) announced the selection of Ames Construction Inc. as general contractor for the project.

MRES officials said the project was still moving forward this past June after prequalifying builders for the plant in September 2012.

The group awarded Voith Hydro a $46 million contract to supply generators and turbines for the Red Rock plant in April 2012, giving the project the capability to generate up to 55 MW at certain times of the year when water is available, though it is licensed at 36.4 MW.

The utility said it expects the plant to be completed in Spring 2018.

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