A groundbreaking ceremony will be held late this morning on a massive hydroelectric plant near Pella at the Lake Red Rock Dam. Tom Heller is CEO of Missouri River Energy Services which plans to construct the nearly $380 million facility that will be able to light about 18,000 homes.
Heller says, “The Red Rock Dam in Pella, Iowa, previously did not have any electric generation on it so we’ve applied and received a permit for construction of a power plant that will, with top water flows, generate over 50 megawatts of power.” On a peak summer day, the nearby town of Pella uses about 40 megawatts of power.
While it won’t be generating power for a few years, the project will be generating jobs. “Indirectly, there’ll probably be 450 people that will be employed in construction of the project,” Heller says. “The construction will be starting this fall. We’re hopeful to be completed in the spring or early in 2018.”
Iowa has several hydropower plants in communities including: Anamosa, Iowa Falls, Maquoketa, Cedar Rapids, Ottumwa, Waverly and Bettendorf. When it’s finished, this new plant near Pella will be Iowa’s second-largest hydropower facility, behind only the plant on the Mississippi River in Keokuk. “The estimated price tag on the construction of the project is $379 million which is a lot of money but you’ve got to take into consideration the fact that a hydropower plant will probably last 80 to 100 years,” Heller says.
Missouri River Energy Services is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and serves 61 cities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 11:30 A.M.