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Indiana Michigan Power owns and operates six run-of-river hydroelectric generating stations along the St. Joseph River in Indiana and Michigan located in:

  • Berrien Springs (MI)
  • Buchanan (MI)
  • Constantine (MI)
  • Mottville (MI)
  • Elkhart (IN)
  • Twin Branch (IN)

The hydroelectric plants have been in operation since the early 1900s. Together, these plants generate more than 22 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 15,000 homes a year. At four of the hydroelectric plants, Buchanan, Mottville, Constantine and Elkhart, original equipment is still in operation.

I&M’s hydroelectric facilities are not designed as storage or flood-control facilities. All six are operated “run-of-river,” meaning all water goes through the generation equipment and then is passed down the river.

We ensure our facilities are operated and maintained through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requirements and the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

As part of these requirements, we perform several tasks for all I&M owned hydroelectric facilities including the following:

  • 24/7 monitoring of all generating stations.
  • Daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections conducted by staff, engineers and independent consultants.
  • Annual facility safety training for staff and operations.
  • Collaboration with other hydroelectric facilities and the FERC Division of Dam Safety and Inspections.

Hydroelectric Facility Community Conversation - Elkhart & Mottville

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is seeking public input on the future plans for two of its hydropower facilities, the Elkhart and Mottville Hydroelectric Facilities. I&M is carefully examining several options, as the facilities’ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license comes due. This input will help guide considerations for the potential relicensing or decommissioning of the facilities. I&M is committed to gathering community feedback and analyzing impacts on recreation, the environment, the local economy, and other factors.

Community survey, detailed project info, FAQs, and regular updates are available at Hydroelectric Facility Community Conversation.

Hydro History

For more than 100 years, hydropower has been supplying reliable, clean energy to millions of Americans and is often considered to be the original renewable energy source. Indiana Michigan Power owns and operates six hydroelectric plants along the St. Joseph River in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan.

Elkhart Hydroelectric Plant: The first dam was built in 1868. The existing dam and power house were completed in 1913. It was acquired by AEP/I&M in 1922. The hydroelectric plant has three generation units in operation.

Twin Branch Hydroelectric Plant: Located near Mishawaka, the plant has been in operation since 1903. It has eight generation units. AEP/I&M acquired the plant in 1922.

Buchanan Hydroelectric Plant: I&M also acquired the hydroelectric in 1922, but construction originally started on the structure in 1892 with the powerhouse completed in 1903. It has 10 generation units and was acquired by AEP/I&M in 1922.

Berrien Springs Hydroelectric Plant: It has 12 generation units and has been operational since 1908. AEP/I&M acquired the plant in 1922.

Constantine Hydroelectric Plant: Originally constructed in 1873, it was transformed into a hydroelectric facility in 1902 with four generation units. This plant was acquired by AEP/I&M in 1967.

Mottville Hydroelectric Plant: This is the “newest” plant in the I&M hydro system. The original land and land rights were first secured in 1906 and 1907, and additional land rights were acquired in 1922. The existing dam and powerhouse were finished in 1923 using four generation units.

At four of the hydroelectric plants, Buchanan, Mottville, Constantine and Elkhart, original equipment is still in operation. Several employees monitor and upkeep the six hydroelectric plants for I&M 24/7.

Hydro Safety

These six hydroelectric facilities offer our customers clean energy produced right in their communities along the St. Joseph River. The hydroelectric plants also offer several recreational opportunities along the river like fishing and boating. Before you take advantage of all the river has to offer, there are important safety measures you need to take.

For your safety, please follow the below guidelines:

  • Do not enter danger zones or areas designated as private either upstream or downstream of the plant.
  • Follow all fences, booms, buoys and barriers which are in place to protect the public.
  • Stay away from the edge of the water and any hydroelectric plant as surfaces may be slippery and you could fall into the river.
  • Do not swim, fish or boat near rapidly moving water or near any hydroelectric facility. You could be swiftly pushed into the danger zone.
  • Do not picnic or sunbathe near a hydroelectric facility.

Water flow conditions above or below a hydroelectric facility can rapidly change. Above the facility, water can drag someone in and pull them under the water where they can’t escape. Below the facility, air stuck in the water could reduce your ability to float – even if you’re wearing a life-jacket.

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