The city of Hannibal’s ongoing search for affordable electricity apparently will not include power generated by the waters of the Mississippi River. The Hannibal Board of Public Works notified the city of Quincy late last month that it will not be a partner in a proposed hydroelectric project at Lock and Dam 22 in Saverton.


The city of Hannibal’s ongoing search for affordable electricity apparently will not include power generated by the waters of the Mississippi River. The Hannibal Board of Public Works notified the city of Quincy late last month that it will not be a partner in a proposed hydroelectric project at Lock and Dam 22 in Saverton.
Hannibal’s interest in the project cooled when the power generation output at Lock and Dam 22 was downgraded from 15 megawatts (MW) to two megawatts.
“That’s not a great deal (of electricity),” said Don Willis, general manager of the BPW, noting that Hannibal’s daily electrical need ranges from 60 to 65 MW. “A large windmill is 2.5 megawatts.”
According to documents supplied by the city of Quincy, the size of the project was reduced in the last year in order to eliminate possible coordination issues with a proposed fish passage structure at the Saverton lock and dam.
Another stumbling block for Hannibal was the short turn-around time that Quincy officials wanted to receive proposals. According to Willis, the proposals were due back in two weeks.
“We didn’t have time to put it all together,” said Willis, noting that during that time the BPW Board was conducting interviews of potential general manager candidates.
“You’d have to do some creative financing. You’d have to seek out grants from wherever you could figure out to get grants from, and certainly there’s a lot of competition for that. So could we make a decision and some sort of commitment within two weeks? No, we couldn’t do it. There’s our shortcoming,” added BPW Board President Bud Janes
Despite the fact the BPW had told Quincy “thanks, but no thanks,” Janes still went to an informational meeting about the project last week. Janes said his attendance was intended to send a message that “maybe we can’t make a decision right now, but maybe in the future we can find a way to work together on something, so please ask again.”
Janes stresses that the BPW Board is continuing to look for other sources of energy.
“We’re sensitive to criticism that the city council and others have made that ‘they’re not even looking at anything else.’ That’s not true,” he said. “We’re continually looking into things and to say we’re not interested in these projects that are so close to home, that’s not true either.
“The things I’m researching that I call renewable or are sometimes referred to as alternative energy, are kind of fun to look into. But nothing has fit just right yet in the framework of getting power to the consumers in Hannibal in a way that would be ‘stomachable’ (cost-wise) for them. The cost of it is just very high, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking into it.”