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.

Central College becomes fourth Iowa school to join Alliance for Resilient Campuses


Nick Fetty | July 10, 2014
Central College Pond on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa. Photo by Central College Alumni; Flickr
Central College Pond on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa.
Photo by Central College Alumni; Flickr

Central College has become the most recent higher education institute in Iowa to join the Alliance for Resilient Campuses.

Central – a liberal arts college with 1,486 undergrads located in Pella, Iowa – is among 35 other colleges and universities across the nation that aim to “respond to the challenges of climate change and work to ensure greater community resilience.”

In 2003, the Vermeer Science Center at Central College became the first building on an Iowa campus to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The Alliance for Resilient Campuses is an initiative by Second Nature, a nonprofit Boston-based organization that aims “to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education.” The group was founded in 1993 and the Alliance for Resilient Campuses was started in May of this year.

Three other Iowa institutes are members of the Alliance for Resilient Campuses: Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Drake University in Des Moines, and Iowa Lakes Community College with campuses in Algona, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer and Spirit Lake.