Several months ago, the wind turbine was shut down as a precaution against any potential problems. The materials that were used initially in the construction of the turbine are now in need of replacement. The City is currently in the bid process for replacement work.North St. Paul is one of 11 Minnesota cities to have a wind turbine to create clean, renewable electricity under the Hometown Wind Power program. Hometown Wind Power turbines contribute to MMPA’s requirement under Minnesota law to achieve a goal of 25% of its power used to be from renewable resources by 2025.Hometown Wind Power is an initiative of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA) with member utilities in Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Buffalo, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Le Sueur, North St. Paul, Olivia, Shakopee, and Winthrop. The program was designed by Avant Energy, also the designer of MMPA’s Faribault Energy Park electric generation facility that celebrated its grand opening in 2007.
It’s been a decade since the city began building the wind turbine towering over the North St. Paul electric utility building on North St. Paul Drive. In that time, the turbine has become a city icon. When it was built, the turbine was constructed with used materials from a west coast desert wind farm. Those materials, having being adjusted to adapt to a much colder environment, are about ready to be replaced.
As a precaution against any potential problems, the turbine was shut down about three months ago ahead of the replacement work, said city electric director Brian Frandle. North St. Paul is one of 11 Minnesota cities with a wind turbine. All cities are part of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which was designed to find ways to create clean, renewable electricity. All member city turbines have been shut down for replacement work.
The Margaret Street turbine doesn’t generate that much energy. North St. Paul isn’t a consistently windy city — its average 11 mph wind speed doesn’t push the turbine to full capacity, as it needs about 26 mph winds to max out, said Frandle. On average, the North St. Paul turbine would barely power the electric utility building. “[It] could probably run 50 smaller homes,” Frandle said. The turbine is more of a statement from the city and its residents to the public, said Frandle. The message? “We are dedicated to sustainable energy.”
The city is currently reviewing bids for replacing turbine material.