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RRHP dedication moved to a virtual format

Jun 02, 2020

RRHP dedication moved to a virtual format

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) dedication ceremony scheduled for Aug. 19 has been moved to a virtual format.

Initially, MRES intended on hosting a large on-site celebration to mark the six-year project’s completion and to memorialize the launch of a clean, reliable resource that will serve customers long into the future. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, however, the MRES board decided during its meeting on June 4 to host a virtual dedication instead. The board’s decision reflects MRES’ commitment to the health and safety of its members, as well as the communities they serve.

A long list of speakers is still on tap for the event, and MRES will provide condensed versions of their speeches, said Joni Livingston, MRES vice president of member services and communications.

“In place of their formal speeches, we’ve asked each speaker to do a short, abbreviated video of what they would have said in person,” she said. “To complement the speaker videos and to replace the plant tours we had planned for that day, MRES staff will put together a slide show and video tour that will provide an inside look at the inner workings and highlights of the plant to an online audience.”

Livingston said the video will be posted online for members to view at their leisure, and that video clips, sound bites, and images will be used on social media as a means of education and outreach to member communities. In addition, MRES staff will be providing members with fact sheets about the project that also show it’s a tangible example of how MRES is working toward a cleaner energy future.

RRHP is a retrofit of the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dam on the Des Moines River just southwest of Pella, Iowa, an MRES member community. MRES built the new hydroelectric facility to add to its members’ renewable resource portfolio, and the addition of hydropower will not affect the operation of the original dam, as USACE will continue scheduling water releases as it has since the dam was first built in 1969.

The capacity of the project is rated at 36.4 MW, but during summer months when water levels are typically highest, the plant is capable of producing up to 55 MW of power. Once it’s fully operational, the facility will generate enough power to satisfy the electrical needs of about 18,000 homes.