The St. Croix Falls Hydro partial peaking plant is the only existing dam on the St. Croix River. The plant was built to provide electricity for the Twin Cities. Construction involved hundreds of laborers who worked day and night shifts seven days a week. For two years, blasting shook buildings and shattered windows in St. Croix Falls and in Taylors Falls, MN just across the river. The spillway provides a scenic view from overlooks on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the river. The plant is remotely operated from the Wissota hydro plant.
A feature that separates the St. Croix Falls plant from other hydroelectric units is its "S" shaped spillway. The spillway was constructed as a curve to increase its crest area, since the river at that spot forms a gorge through which passes a large volume of water.
In 2006, Xcel Energy entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to stabilize the water flow of the lower St. Croix River.
This operational plan helps protect aquatic attributes of the river to foster recovery of endangered species. The MOU is a feasible way to protect public interests and natural resources while maintaining energy production.
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