Construction begins on Iowa’s second-largest hydroelectric plant


Nick Fetty | August 15, 2014
An artist rendering of the $380 million  Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (Missouri River Energy Services)
Artist rendering of the $380 million Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (via Missouri River Energy Services)

Construction is underway on a $280 million hydroelectric project near Pella that will be the second-largest hydroelectric plant in the state once completed.

The $380 million Red Rock Hydroelectric Project will retrofit the current Red Rock Dam and is expected to produce enough energy to power up to 18,000 homes across four states. The project is a collaboration between Missouri River Energy Services and the city of Pella.

Iowa’s largest hydroelectric facility is the Keokuk Power Plant on the Mississippi River. At the time of its construction in 1913, it was largest hydropower project in the world.

A 2012 study by the Department of Energy found that Iowa ranked 10th in the nation for hydropower potential. Data from the Energy Information Administration shows that in Iowa hydroelectric power generated a mere 67 GWh during April 2014. This compared to 1,854 GWh from coal and 1,768 GWh from other renewables such as wind and solar.

Officials expect construction on the Red Rock project to be completed by 2018.

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