WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Burlington Explores Hydroelectric Power

Apr 8, 2012

Burlington is exploring the world of hydroelectric power.

The city, its renewable energy committee and Klingner and Associates have been working on a proposal to build a hydroelectric power plant on Lock & Dam 18.  The plan calls for about two-dozen low-head turbines to be constructed.

Interim City Manager Dan Luettenegger says the proposal would be costly with a potential price tag of $80-$90-million.  He says the city would not be able to afford that, so a Canadian firm (Coastal Hydropower Corp.) is interested in covering much of the cost.

“They would come in and build it and the city would own it,” says Luetteneger, “and they would get a certain percentage and the city would get a certain percentage of the revenue generated from it.”

The city is simply exploring its options at this point.

Luettenegger says Burlington does have a permit to pursue hydro-electric power on that section of the Mississippi River, but it expires in the fall.  He says Coastal Hydropower Corp. is working to secure a 50-year operating license through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.



Burlington is moving ahead with plans to tear down the former Dresser-Rand complex.  The city tried to sell the buildings beneath the Central Ave. overpass after obtaining them in 2008 as part of a deal to keep the company in the area.

Luettenegger says there was little interest in the buildings before they were damaged by flood water in 2010.  He says it ruined the boiler, the heating system and the electrical system.

Luettenegger says, in the city’s opinion, it would be cheaper to tear the buildings down and rebuild compared to repairing the buildings.

The demolition will be done by a firm out of Spring Valley, IL as soon as the contract is finalized.  He says there will be no cost to the city as the firm can salvage all remaining materials.

The city plans to advertise the remaining concrete slabs once the demolition is complete.



A housing development continues to have the support of the Burlington City Council despite opposition from neighbors.

The panel has approved the second reading of a measure allowing several duplexes to be built near Florence Avenue.  Interim City Manager Dan Luettenegger says it has taken several years for the developer to come up with a plan that adheres to city requirements.

Special permission is needed because the multi-duplex development is planned on property currently zoned for single-family homes.  The neighbors have expressed concerns about how the duplexes will impact their neighborhood.

A final vote on the development is scheduled for later this month.