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FEMA Should Recover $13.8 Million in FEMA Public Assistance Funds Awarded to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for Ineligible Hydroelectric Plant

Executive Summary

The facility is a three-turbine hydroelectric generating plant that began operation in 1986. It produced a small amount of the City’s total commercial and residential electrical needs. From 1997 through early 2007, the City hired North American Hydro to operate and maintain the facility. The facility has been inactive since January 2007, when frazil river ice damaged the trash racks and straightening vanes of two of the three turbine generators.1 In June 2008, 17 months following the ice damage, a federally declared flooding disaster caused severe damage to the facility. Before the January 2007 ice damage, the 21-year-old facility needed significant capital expenditures to continue operating efficiently over the long term. Also, according to the City’s hydroelectric consultants, the facility generally produced about 20 percent less electricity than expected because its design allows it to capture available water flow only about 35 percent of the time.

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