The following article by Peter Callaghan was published on October 1, 2015 in MinnPost.
The subject of this article is Symphony Hydro, a company that is submitting an amended plan after its first plan was rejected by FERC.
The now-drained lock is an empty box: 56 feet by 400 feet by 50 feet worth of air that bars upriver migration of invasive carp.
Since it was closed to navigation June 10, the upper lock at St. Anthony Falls has just kinda been sitting there.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the upper gates to hold back the Mississippi River, locking the lower gates in the open position. The now-drained lock is an empty box: 56 feet by 400 feet by 50 feet worth of air that bars upriver migration of invasive carp.
The water that once filled the lock to float traffic up and down the river now joins the flow either over the spillway or through an Xcel Energy hydropower facility on the east bank.
But a North Carolina engineer with Minnesota roots is hoping to reinvigorate a proposal to use the lock to generate electricity. Robert Schulte wants to mount two submersible turbine generators on panels inside the lock. Water passing through the turbines would generate 3.4 megawatts of power, or about 1,600 homes worth.
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