A hydroelectric project needs a lot of water, but not necessarily during construction.
Flooding has affected the project, causing delays and increased cost to the $379 million project. In 2018, there were 150 flood delays and 127 in 2019.
The Missouri River Energy Services Red Rock Hydroelectric Project is expected to be completed this fall, with a dedication ceremony to be held on Aug. 19.
To date, approximately 1.4 million labor hours have been put into the project. As of Aug. 31, 2019, nearly 83,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed and over 7,000 tons of rebar was installed.
Missouri River Energy Services is a not-for-profit provider of power and energy in four states, owned by its members.
MRES Director of Member Services and Communications Joni Livingston said all of the concrete used in the project has been locally sourced.
Livingston said the firm capacity of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project is 36.4 megawatts, with a peak capacity of 55 megawatts.
Pella is one of the larger members of the Missouri River Energy Services, Livingston said, population-wise. However, Pella only carries an average service load.
Pella is the only one out of MRES’s 61 members to have all power requirements provided by MRES, rather than a supplemental situation.
Livingston said all MRES members pay the same rate, which may vary depending on seasonal demand and monthly energy consumption
“All of our members S-1 or not S-1 pay the same rate. So everybody is on an even playing field as far as rates are concerned,” she said. “MRES also bills for your transmission charges from MidAmerican. If you had WAPA power, we would bill for that too. That’s just a pass-through to make it easier for those entities and to make it easier for you to just have it all in one bill.”
Livingston said MRES will be going to a time of use energy rate starting in 2023.
“We are still working on what that rate is going to look like,” she said.
Pella’s market, Livingston said, is called the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator.
“The prices in the market vary so much depending on whether the wind is blowing or whether the wind is not blowing,” she said. “So we have different pricing structures that we have to deal with and now we’re going to be passing those along to you and you’ll have an opportunity to pass those price signals along to your customers as well.”
Pella City Manager Mike Nardini said the only way to pass along the true cost to the user is by having AMI Smart Meter technology.
“We discussed that as one of the benefits, that’s one of the driving forces when we’re talking about AMI Smart Meters for the community as well,” he said. “What it allows us to do is also adjust our rate schedules for timeliness as well for people. We can mimic what they do to us, how they’re billing us, and pass that along on a true cost basis to our customers. Right now we have no way of doing that.”
Nardini said 80 percent of the city’s cost is power supply and transmission for the utility.