The Lower St. Anthony Falls hydroelectric scheme is one of 25 proposed renewable energy projects selected by Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy, in collaboration with environmental groups and the Prairie Island Indian Community, to receive in excess of US$22M in renewable development funds.
It has been out of action since 1987, when a power house failure suspended energy generation by the power plant. The work proposed by SAF Hydroelectric is to install 16 turbines in a matrix arrangement and is expected to incur capital costs of almost US$22M. Until the failure, it operated with a generating capacity of 8.98MW.
The recommendation was submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) at the end of August. A license application was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January this year, with a decision expected by September 2005. Whether the project goes ahead also depends on approval from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Lower St. Anthony Falls is the only hydro scheme listed in the recommendations to MPUC. Xcel also proposed funding for two wind and four biomass energy generation schemes, as well as almost US$13M for research and development.