Anoka has stake in state’s largest municipally owned wind farm

As a member of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Anoka has a part in the largest municipally owned wind farm in the state, along with 10 other member cities.

The Oak Glen Wind farm produces enough energy to power 14,000 homes.
The Oak Glen Wind farm produces enough energy to power 14,000 homes.

MMPA generates and purchases electricity, which Anoka and the other member cities deliver and sell to residential and business customers in the community.

This summer the MMPA was honored with the 2012 Power Wind Award for its efforts with both the Oak Glen Wind Farm near Owatonna and the Hometown WindPower Program, which brought a wind turbine to each of its member cities, including Anoka.

With 24 turbines spread over 3,000 acres, the Oak Glen Wind Farm produces enough energy to power about 14,000 households, with an output of 44 megawatts. Under development since 2005, it went online last fall, but celebrated its grand opening in June.

Councilmember Steve Schmidt, Anoka’s representative on MMPA’s board, said being a part of the energy cooperative has been extremely valuable to the city, by providing customers at least a 5 percent savings on electricity compared to other area utilities.

In recent years it has also been a profitable enterprise for the city of Anoka, with the council opting to transfer money out the electric fund to finance street projects.

“We were able to pave 10 miles of streets without having to assess anybody,” said Schmidt.

While wind power production is not lucrative, sustainable energy production is a requirement. By 2025 power companies will be required to reach a renewable energy standard of 25 percent. Both the wind farm and the individual turbines in member cities will help MMPA achieve that goal. Currently nearly 11 percent of MMPA’s energy supply is from sustainable resources.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]