The Coon Rapids Dam was authorized for hydropower development by Congress in January 1912. From its completion in 1914 until 1969 the dam produced 6.5 MW of hydropower. The hydropower production was discontinued in 1969 and ownership of the dam was acquired by Three Rivers Park District. Nelson Energy, through a subsidiary company, has been working since 2009 to restore the renewable energy potential at the dam. When it goes into operation, the plant will produce an average of 55,000,000 kWh of electrical power, enough energy for 17,000 people. This clean renewable energy source will be able to replace coal fired generation with greenhouse gas emission equal to over 11,000 automobiles.

In order to proceed with the development the project, Nelson will need to obtain a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  In consultation with regulatory agencies, during the past five years this process has required detailed studies of environmental issues, development of preliminary designs and an evaluation of any impacts to recreation, water and associated land and will require preparation of an Environmental Assessment by the FERC. The majority of these studies have been completed and a draft license application has been prepared for agency and public review. Under FERC regulations, the application will be provided to approximately 40 regulatory agencies for a 90 day review period. The public is welcome to provide comments during this review period. At the completion of the review, a public meeting will be held and the comments will be incorporated in a final license application which will be submitted to the FERC. The draft application is contained in three volumes which may be accessed at the link given below. The draft application includes the following:

Volume I - Exhibits A – G as required by the FERC providing a project description and description of costs and impacts (70MB)

Volume II - Appendices containing environmental studies and other supporting information (188MB)

Volume III - Correspondence and other information documenting consultation with regulatory agencies and Three Rivers Park District (17MB)

Written comments on the project may be submitted to:
 Nelson Energy
8441 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 101
Golden Valley, MN 55426


The Lower St. Anthony Falls project is in commercial operation and is located on the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis. Nelson Energy joined forces with Brookfield Power who took the lead in the construction of the project. The project provides 65,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricty on an annual basis, enough energy to provide power to 19,000 people. The project is located at the very core of Minnesota's largest electrical demand center, eliminating the need for long transmission lines.

The project eliminates existing carbon emissions equivalent to taking 13,000 automobiles off the road. As a result, Xcel Energy awarded the project a Renewable Energy Grant in September 2004. The grant was one of 8 awarded, out of 100 applications.


The Red Rock Project is located at the largest lake in Iowa which is formed by the Corps of Engineers’ dam on the Des Moines River near Pella, Iowa.   The project will utilize two vertical Kaplan turbines with a head of 55-feet to provide 36 MW of renewable energy. This project will provide over 150 million kWh of carbon free renewable energy per year.

In 2011 Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) purchased the development rights to the Red Rock project. MRES is a joint municipal action agency that provides power to 60 municipal utilities in the Upper Midwest. MRES is managing the project through construction with an on line date in late 2015. Nelson Energy retains an interest in the project and serves in an advisory role to MRES.


The Tygart Project is located near Grafton, West Virginia.  The original construction of the Corps of Engineers’ Tygart Dam in 1936 included provision for hydropower which was never installed. The project will use one the two unused penstocks to provide water to two Kaplan turbines.  Nelson Energy has joined forces with Advanced Hydro Solutions (AHS).  AHS is taking the lead in the development process for this 29 MW project. 


In 2007, Nelson Energy began development of the hydroelectric potential at three existing Corps of Engineers' dams in Louisiana. This total 92 MW of new capacity has an estimated cost of over $400 million. License applications for the three projects have been submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and all licensing and environmental studies have been completed. The three projects are located within an 84 mile long reach of the Red River and their similarities in configuration will provide significant economies of scale in both construction and operation.


The L&D No. 3 Project is located on the Red River at Colfax, Louisiana.  This Corps of Engineers navigation project was completed in the early 1990’s and has a head of 31 feet.  The development would utilize a bulb turbine unit located in an abutment area of the dam to produce 36 MW of energy. 

(LOCK & DAM NO. 4)

Completed in 1994 this Lock & Dam is located on the Red River in Louisiana.  With over 25 feet of head and a median stream flow of over 20,000 cfs this site has the potential to produce 28 MW of energy and 138,000 MWH of power annually.

(LOCK & DAM NO. 5)

This project is located on the Red River in Louisiana seventeen miles downstream from Shreveport.  The project has a maximum head of 25 feet.  The proposed development plan includes installation of a double regulated bulb turbine unit in a powerhouse constructed the east abutment area.  This unit will develop 28 MW of power, and 138,000 MWH of power annually under full head and flow.

8441 Wayzata Blvd • Suite 101 • Golden Valley, MN 55426
phone (952) 544-8133 •