Schmidt to lead municipal power agency board

The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency has named a new board chair, Steve Schmidt, of Anoka.

Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt

Schmidt, a member of the Anoka City Council, has been named chairman of the power agency’s board of directors. Each member community is represented on the board, which shapes strategy and makes energy policy decisions for MMPA.

MMPA is comprised of 12 municipal electrical utilities in Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Buffalo, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Elk River, Le Sueur, North St. Paul, Olivia, Shakopee and Winthrop.

Highlights from the Agency’s Annual Report include the following updates.

Elk River Municipal Utilities became an MMPA member in 2013 after a multi-year search for a power provider. Significant factors in the city’s decision were favorable rates for electricity and its ability to be part of the governing body of MMPA. MMPA’s electrical load increases by approximately 20 percent with the addition of Elk River.

The Oak Glen Wind Farm LLC subsidiary of MMPA received a $25.4 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Ratepayers in MMPA member cities will benefit from renewable energy at a lower cost because the grant reduces costs for Oak Glen Wind Farm.

MMPA’s unrestricted cash balance and rate stabilization fund both increased by more than $10 million, further improving the agency’s financial position.

MMPA significantly expanded its Energy Education program by inaugurating energy tours at the Agency’s Faribault Energy Park for fourth-graders. About 1,250 students from 18 schools participated in the 2012-13 school year, learning about energy issues, including renewable energy production.

In addition, MMPA won two important awards. For its two wind energy programs – Hometown WindPower and Oak Glen Wind Farm – the organization was awarded the 2012 Public Power Wind Award for its “leadership, innovation, project creativity and benefits to customers.”  And MMPA’s Faribault Energy Park won a “Best of the Best” award from prestigious energy trade magazine Combined Cycle Journal for its innovative water management system.

MMPA’s mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced energy to its members while creating value for the agency and its members. Its long-time management partner, Avant Energy of Minneapolis, directs the agency’s strategic planning, day-to-day management and operations, and energy facility development.

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