Eight eligible to compete for historic 17.92-MW Ford project

Ford Motor Co. has pre-qualified eight bidders to purchase its 17.92-MW Ford hydroelectric project, on the Mississippi River in St. Paul.

The company expects proposals in January and plans to select a buyer in early February.

Ford Motor Land Development Corp., a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., is handling the sale of the project (No. 362). Stefanie Denby, a spokesman for Ford Land, in Dearborn, Mich., said Dec. 19 the eight unidentified bidders would visit the facility before formal bids are submitted.

The Ford project has powered Ford’s Ranger truck assembly plant, which is scheduled to close in 2008. It is Ford’s only hydropower plant, which also generates electricity for sale to Xcel Energy.

The project, previously known as Twin Cities hydroelectric, features a dam and power plant. The Corps of Engineers built the dam in 1917 in anticipation of hydropower. Ford completed construction of the hydroelectric plant in 1924 at a cost of about $1 million.

The 82-year-old hydro plant operates in run-of-river mode. FERC issued a 30-year relicense for the project in 2004.

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