Municipal Utilities

Cascade, Wisconsin Wastewater Plant Powered by Wind Energy

With the start-up of two 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbines, the Village of Cascade became the first Wisconsin community to power its municipal wastewater treatment plant with 100 percent locally produced wind energy.

The impetus behind Cascade's embrace of wind power was the avoided utility expenditures associated with operating a wastewater treatment plant. In the first year of operation, Cascade stands to save $30,000. With anticipated increases in electric rates, the Village of Cascade should save more than one million dollars over the thirty-year life of the turbines. Additional revenue will come from the sale of excess power to We Energies.

“With these two turbines, the Village of Cascade has taken a giant step toward energy independence,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Its prudent investment in wind energy will enable the community to control its energy budget, saving money for current and future residents.”

Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, a wind system installer located in nearby Random Lake, installed and commissioned Cascade's turbines. “We are proud that our local efforts on this project made this the first net-zero wastewater treatment plant in Wisconsin,” said Kettle View Renewable Energy project manager Randy Faller. “It speaks volumes to the commitment by the Village of Cascade to generate clean, domestic energy while saving their community money.”

Northern Power Systems, the Vermont turbine manufacturer, “couldn't be more pleased that our technologically advanced, American-made Northwind 100 turbines are delivering real energy solutions for municipalities, schools, businesses and farms across Wisconsin,” said Brett Pingree, vice president of Americas at Northern Power Systems.

Grants from Milwaukee-based We Energies and Focus on Energy were instrumental in supplementing Cascade's investment in the project.

Municipal Wind Power in Minnesota

AUGUST 2009, MN - The city of Chaska, Minnesota, will soon have an 80-foot-tall wind turbine generating clean, renewable electricity for local residents and businesses. The Pioneer Ridge Wind Turbine is just one of the eleven turbines that will be installed through the Hometown WindPower program created by the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA). After holding an open house and a neighborhood meeting to gather citizen input, the Pioneer Ridge Middle School site was chosen after a variety of factors were considered including visibility, proximity to existing power sources, educational value, and impact to neighbors. Construction could begin as soon as September, 2009.

"Hometown WindPower will put power generation right into the community where it will be used."
—Derick Dahlen, Avant Energy

The Hometown WindPower program began in 2006, when MMPA began an ambitious program to locate wind turbines for their 11 member communities across the state of Minnesota. The Agency is owned by its member cities and governed by a board of directors with representatives from each community working together to provide competitively priced, reliable and sustainable energy to their local customers. Now, five of the member communities, Chaska, Anoka, Buffalo, North Saint Paul, and Shakopee, have entered the planning stage for their wind power projects this year.

The program was designed by Avant Energy, a Minneapolis firm that provides services to municipal utilities and public power agencies. "Wind power is most efficient when it can be used at the point of generation, rather than being transmitted many miles away," says Avant Energy president Derick Dahlen. "Hometown WindPower will put power generation right into the community where it will be used, and it will happen using a clean, endlessly renewable source of power."

A turbine in Anoka, recently approved by the city council with a 4-1 vote, will be located near the Anoka High School with construction slated to begin this fall. Buffalo has selected a site at Buffalo High School near the Buffalo water tower. North St. Paul has selected a site by a public works garage. The 165-kilowatt wind turbines with 80-foot towers and 35-foot blades are refurbished machines from California purchased for $300,000 each. Hometown WindPower will help MMPA meet its Minnesota state requirement to achieve a renewable energy standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025.

Willmar Municipal Utilities wind turbine
 
Willmar Municipal Utilities
wind turbine

Municipal wind power projects are developed by small political subdivisions of cities and townships, rural electrification cooperatives, and other municipal entities or municipally owned corporations that provide electric transmission, distribution or generation services. Advantages of municipal wind power projects include the ability of a local government body to manage the regulatory process and to arrange for public meetings during the planning process along with the use of public lands for siting.

While these projects are much smaller than commercial wind farms with megawatt-scale tubines, they demonstrate how local government and public utilities can provide their own clean energy from sustainable resources. Hometown WindPower is a prime example of how Community Wind is being used in small communities to help keep energy costs stable by creating a long-term fixed price for the power, providing a hedge against rising fuel costs, such as coal and natural gas.

Other Minnesota municipalities are using wind power for these benefits as well.

Willmar Municipal Utilities recently completed construction of two wind turbines that will be used to power about 3% of the city's electric needs. These 262-foot, 2-MW DeWind wind turbines were manufactured in Round Rock, Texas, with blades made in Germany, and the steel tower sections built in Nebraska. The city of Willmar is using bonding to spread out the cost over a 10- to 15-year period. Over the 20-year life of the turbines, the projected cost for each kilowatthour of electricity produced is less than 5 cents.

Capture the Wind Turbines in North Moorhead
Capture the Wind Turbines
in North Moorhead

Moorhead Public Service (MPS) was a pioneer in 1999 erecting a .75-MW wind turbine, followed by a second turbine in 2001. MPS instituted a Capture the Wind program allowing residents and local businesses to help support the municipal wind project by paying additional fees of no more than a half-penny per kWh. This allows customers the opportunity to make a positive environmental choice to support clean, renewable energy by paying a little extra without impacting other customers who do not choose to support the project. The program was so popular that the subscription targets for both turbines were achieved within their first months of being offered, and customers went on waiting lists to join the program with extended offerings.

Municipal Wind Power

Wind energy projects developed by small political subdivisions of cities and townships, rural electrification cooperatives, and other municipal or quasi-municipal entities or municipally owned corporations that provide electric transmission, distribution or generation services.

Worthington, MN: Community Wind Project

The following is an excerpt from a case study on RiverWinds project in Worthington,  MN, compiled byClean Energy Resource Teams

"In September 2000, the Worthington Public Utilities assembled a task force of citizens to investigate the merit of wind power in Worthington. Windustry, a project affiliated with the non-profit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, funded the feasibility study through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Investigation results were very positive, so Worthington Public Utilities entered into a three-way partnership with Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), a joint action power agency based in Sioux Falls, and Wisconsin Public Power Inc (another power agency), to install four new 900 kW wind turbines. Worthington Public Utilities owns the distribution, while the two partners each owned two of the turbines, allowing both to qualify for the Minnesota Renewable Energy Production Incentives for projects less than 2 MW."

Fiind the repost on the CERTS website

cleanenergyresourceteams.org/files/CS_CWind_Worthington.pdf

Waverly, IA: Waverly Light and Power Community Wind Project

Midwest Municipal Utility is a Wind Power Pioneer

Waverly Light & Power (WLP) was the first utility in the Midwest to invest in wind energy with an 80 kW turbine in 1993. The municipal utility in northeast Iowa began to explore wind power as a way to diversify its energy resources, test more environmentally-friendly ways to generate electricity, and respond to the community’s interest in wind. The success of the first turbine prompted WLP to invest in two more turbines, 750 kW Zonds. This time the turbines were installed near Storm Lake in northwest Iowa to take advantage of a better wind resource and the economies of scale of that came with being part of a 259-turbine project.  

With advances in technology and costs for wind energy dropping, in 2002 WLP determined that installing a large turbine in the local area made economic sense. The 900 kW NEG Micon turbine cost $1.1 million and now provides enough annual energy for 261 homes (about 2.2 million kWh). Residents and businesses in Waverly now get about five percent of their energy from wind power. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources wrote a case study that describes the operation and economics of this turbine in detail.

WLP launched the Iowa Energy Tags program in 2001 to allow citizens from Iowa and around the country to support its wind energy initiatives. For $50, any consumer or company in Iowa or around the country can buy the equivalent of 2,500 kWh of wind-generated electricity. The cost of WLP’s wind turbine investments has been integrated into the rates of all Waverly customers, but this program allows people to contribute extra toward more wind development.

WLP General Manager Glenn Cannon has been the guiding force behind the utility’s pioneering efforts in renewable energy. In a 2002 interview with Wind Powering America, Cannon outlined his vision for doubling WLPs use of wind power and ways to help other municipal utilities follow in Waverly’s footsteps. Click here to read the full interview.

Another Waverly wind power champion is honored in the names of WLPs four turbines. They are called Skeets 1, 2, 3, and 4 as a tribute the late Russell “Skeets” Walther, a Waverly farmer who volunteered his land for the first WLP turbine. The 231-foot tall Skeets 4 now stands in same spot as the original Skeets 1 as memorial to his great commitment to wind power.

Sources: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wind Powering America, and Waverly Light & Power

 

Traverse City, MI: Community Wind Project

Traverse City, Michigan was the first municipal utility in the state to install a utility scale turbine in 1996.

Excerpt for this case study from the Michigan Energy Office.

Traverse City Light & Power Wind Generator
DESCRIPTION:

In June 1996, Traverse City Light & Power dedicated the first utility scale wind turbine generator in Michigan. The wind turbine is a Vestas model V-44, 600 kW generator and has a blade diameter of 144 ft. on a 160 ft. tower. The wind turbine has a variable blade pitch mechanism which can capture the most energy from winds. In average annual winds of between 14-15 mph the annual production from the wind turbine is estimated between 1.1-1.2 million kWh's which is enough electricity for approximately 200 average Traverse City homes. The capital cost of approximately $650,000 was partially funded by a $50,000 grant from the State of Michigan and the U.S. Dept. of Energy's State Energy Program.

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