Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant

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Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant
Pillsbury A Mill.jpg
Location W. side of Hennepin Island, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Architect William de la Barre
Architectural style Commercial
Part of Saint Anthony Falls Historic District (#71000438)
Added to NRHP 1985

The Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant also known as the St. Anthony Hydro Plant, sits on the site of early sawmills at St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The current structure was built for electric power in 1882. It is currently operated by Xcel Energy. The facility stands on the east bank of the Mississippi River near the Pillsbury "A" Mill at Saint Anthony Falls, the river's only waterfall, which powered the city's early sawmills, grist mills and other industry. Today, the hydroelectric plant is the only industrial draw on the falls' power. Five generating units produce 2.4 or 2.5 megawatts each for a total of 12 megawatts.[1][2]

Xcel Energy renewed its license which was authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March 2004. One condition of the license is the creation of a recreation area to provide the public with access to the plant and interpret its part in the evolution of St. Anthony Falls. A walkway now crosses in front of the building, leading to a bridge across the spillway separating the plant from Hennepin Island. A portion of the island overlooking the falls has been made into Water Power Park, allowing the closest possible approaches to the falls. In 2008, Xcel collaborated with the University of Minnesota's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory on a new Outdoor StreamLab which improves two existing flood bypass channels to study the site's ecology and hydrology.[1]

The plant is one of 85 contributing properties of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District which is on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

Crown Hydro, LLC, has proposed a second hydro plant for the falls, to be built on the opposite bank of the Mississippi next to the Stone Arch Bridge.[4]


  1. ^ a b Xcel Energy, (2006), St. Anthony Hydro Project (PDF)
  2. ^ Xcel Energy (n.d.). "Hennepin Island". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  3. ^ Minnesota Historical Society (2001). "St. Anthony Falls Historic District". Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  4. ^ Louwagie, Pam (March 21, 2007). "Hydro plant plan churns up again". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 

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Coordinates: 44°58′57″N 93°15′15″W / 44.982400°N 93.254155°W / 44.982400; -93.254155