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Red Rock Hydroelectric Dam

Iowa’s largest lake, Lake Red Rock, is a popular recreation destination located in Marion County. Known for its crappie fishing and camp grounds, Lake Red Rock will now also be known as a source for renewable energy. Built in the 1960s, the Red Rock Dam controls the water flow between Lake Red Rock and the Des Moines River. In 2014, Missouri River Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers kicked-off a plan to retrofit the Red Rock dam into a 36.4-Megawatt (MW) hydroelectric dam, to further diversify Iowa’s energy grid.

With the immense scale and complexity of the retrofit project came a unique set of challenges. With our vast experience working on energy projects, such as CapX2020 in the Midwest, the Red Rock project team called Braun Intertec. Our engineers were excited to solve these challenges, and employed innovative solutions to meet the client’s needs.

One example involved the installation of a 130-foot long rebar cage for the dam’s intake structure that will funnel water into the turbines. The installation requirements dictated that the rebar cage needed to be lowered into position by crane in one attempt. This is where our engineering team came into play. We analyzed the strength of the connection between the crane and the rebar cage in our materials laboratory. Based on the information we gathered from our analysis, we were able to redesign the connection to provide more strength and safety, allowing the rebar cage to be installed successfully.

Due to the tremendous size and intricacies of the site, federal regulations required the project to be instrumented and monitored in real time for safety and quality purposes. This presented a unique challenge, given the ever-changing site conditions of the project.

Our instrumentation team was up to the challenge. Around the dam, our team strategically installed a suite of sensors and systems on key points of the site. These sensors were designed to accurately monitor the geologic, environmental, and structural conditions of the site, keeping construction crews safe and the project on schedule.

With an anticipated completion date of 2018, the Red Rock Hydroelectric Dam will provide power for approximately 18,000 homes in 60 municipalities, adding an efficient renewable energy source for the residents of Marion County, Iowa. The continued success of the Red Rock Hydroelectric project is a perfect example of our multitude of services coming together to provide innovative solutions to complex challenges. Further delivering on our reputation for being the consultant of choice.