North St. Paul wind turbine turns 10, is shut down for maintenance


Solomon Gustavo/Review The North St. Paul turbine, a city icon, has been shut down for repairs.

It’s been a decade since the city began building the wind turbine towering over the North St. Paul electric utility building at 2400 Margaret St. 

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.

 

—Solomon Gustavo

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