Pella Chronicle

January 6, 2013

Board hears more about RR Hydro Project

By Clint Brown
The Chronicle

Pella — During a special meeting with the Marion County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 20, representatives from Missouri River Energy Services gave a presentation for the board to gain a 'better understanding' of the Red Rock Hydro Project.

Brent Moeller, P.E., Manager, Generation Resources at MRES told the board that the project, according to an Iowa State University regional economic study, will provide the following:

-$248 million in industrial output

-$104 million in value added

-$73.7 million in labor income

-732 direct, indirect and induced total jobs.

Moeller also commented that an updated analysis on number of workers on an annual basis would be 200-260 in 2014, 370-430 in 2015 and 210-240 in 2016.

Moeller did caution the board that the MRES board has not given the final approval to proceed with the project as of yet. Approval will not be given until quotes are received from the general contractor.

"There is a one-percent chance the project won't happen," Moeller said. "We are still a year away from dirt moving."

As background on the project, Moeller explained that the two turbine/generators will be capable of generating up to 27.5 MW of 55 MW plant total at increases reservoir elevation and flows. The average annual energy generation will be enough to power 18,000 homes. The project will be licensed as 'Run of Release', as daily releases will be directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Moeller advised the board that he anticipates the project schedule looking as follows:

-May 2013 - submit 100 percent design package to USACE and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for approval

-Sept. 2013 - Approval of the 100 percent design package

-Nov. 2013 - Award general construction contract

-Jan. 2014 - Close T-15 over the dam to install access and 780' elevation work platform for intake structure – estimated closure for four weeks and minimal closure of T-15 thereafter

-July 2016 - First unit operational

Sept. 2016 - Second unit operational

May 2017 - Final testing with high reservoir level (at highest level possible - Red Rock will not be raised just for testing. Testing will be done as levels are made available by nature).

Further details regarding construction traffic are still being discussed, but Moeller did comment that MRES will be working with the County to make sure all regulations are followed and those regulations are passed on to the general contractor at that time.

As part of the recreation mitigation prior to the project beginning, Moeller told the board that the following additions will be made around the project site:

-New picnic shelters at the South Tailwater area and Cordova

-New playground at the South Tailwater Area

-New fish cleaning station at the South Tailwater area

-Additional parking at the South Tailwater Area and new parking at Cordova

-New restroom at Cordova

-New kiosk at Cordova

-Extension of the Volksweg Bike Trail from the Fifield Recreation Area to Cordova

-Purchase two new water fountains for the Corps