LAKE RED ROCK — Hydroelectric Plant Supervisor Vern Cochran presented an overview of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project on Saturday.
So far, a picnic shelter, playground, an additional fish cleaning station, extra parking spaces and 7,000 feet of bike trails have been completed. Cochran stated Missouri Energy Services, the company working on the project, was recently awarded grant money to extend the bike trail. A picnic shelter was also completed at Cordova Park.
“Prior to the project starting, the first year I was here, we put in some recreation mitigation features to help offset the inconvenience of our project taking over this highly, sought-after recreation area,” said Cochran.
Project participants include MWH Americas, DeWild Grant Reckert and Associates, Ames Construction and Voith Hydro. Ames Construction is the general contractor for the project and is based out of Burnsville, Minnesota. However, the company has aligned with local trade unions, so laborers who have been constructing the project are from the surrounding areas.
The project has been licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to generate 36.4 megawatts of energy which can be exceeded to 55 megawatts if the amount of water is available. The average annual energy production is estimated to be approximately 189,000-megawatt hours.
“This will be enough power to satisfy the electrical needs for all the homes in Marion County on an annual basis,” said Cochran. “This is how much power we can produce out of this power plant.”
The megawatt numbers are based on historical stream flows of the Des Moines River. Cochran stated the stream flows have been slightly higher than normal in the past few years.
Currently, there is no official completion date set for the project. It began in August 2014, but recent flooding has halted construction until late July/early Aug. of this year. Original completion was projected for late 2018/early 2019, but there were almost 180 days of no work due to flooding in 2018. Cochran stated they are in the same situation this year.
With ideal weather conditions, Cochran stated late July/early August of 2020 is the tentative completion date.
As of March 31, 1.2 million man-hours have gone into the project. Over 81,893 cubic yards of concrete have been placed; this is enough concrete to build a two-lane highway from Pella to Monroe. Approximately 6,669 tons of rebar have been installed. The total project cost is estimated to be about $400 million.
Cochran presented photos and explained development processes/details for both upstream and downstream construction, and 15 community members attended the event. Photos of the project can be found at redrockhydroproject.com.