Quincy competes for rights to hydro project

The city of Quincy faces some competition in its bid to build a hydroelectric plant at Lock and Dam 21.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Quincy's newly formed C-Corporation is one of *three* entities vying for the rights to Lock and Dam 21.

Those three entities include: Mississippi L&D 21, LLC, Mississippi River No. 21 Hydropower Company (City of Quincy and Private partners), and Lock + Hydro Friends Fund XXXII, LLC.

But city leaders say it's not "locked out" of the hydro project.

Is there any danger of Quincy losing Lock and Dam 21?

Quincy's Hydropower Engineer Mike Klingner said, "It looks good for the city because with the three entities applying for permits with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, we're the only one that's moved forward with the draft license application."

Klingner says Quincy's license application would trump any permits the other entities would get. And since the city has been working on this project three years longer than any other company, environmental studies and designs for the project are ready to go. All that lies ahead for the city is submitting a final license application this July, with final approval coming sometime in 20-11.

Klingner says Quincy is far ahead of its competitors because originally Quincy had permits to look into building hydro plants at Lock and Dam 20, 21 and 22. But after much study, the city decided to focus efforts on Lock 21 at its back door. Not only that but the city also created its own C-Corporation to take advantage of federal grant money. That would cover a third of the $100 million cost of building the hydro plant.

But for a city to form C-Corporation and save money, it had to start all over in the permit process. That's what opened the door to some competition by some private entities. Now the city is competing for preliminary permits to perform feasibility studies on Lock and Dam 21. But since Quincy completed those studies's moving on with licensing.

The city's two competitors face a few stumbling blocks as well. Letters of protest are coming in from area drainage districts, like Fabius River Drainage District which has concerns about how some of the designs may affect levees on the Missouri side of the river.

But Klingner says the key is taking advantage of green energy that lies at Quincy's back door.

He said, "Water is going by and we'll be able capture that energy."

If and when a license is approved next year, Quincy expects to move ahead with construction sometime in 20-12 for completion in 20-14.