WindSense Frequently Asked Questions
What is the WindSense program?
Minnesota Power is offering our customers the opportunity to buy electricity that is wind-generated by subscribing for blocks of wind energy for a small surcharge.
Where will this wind-generated electricity come from?
Minnesota Power has purchased half of the output of wind generation from Great River Energy, who has contracted for construction and operation of three 660-kilowatt windmill turbines at the Chandler Hills Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota. It will be transmitted from there to Minnesota Power lines over lines owned by Xcel, with whom we've reached a transmission service agreement.
Why is Minnesota Power offering wind generation?
There are two main reasons:
- Wind is a renewable source of energy that broadens Minnesota Power's sources of supplying electric generation.
- Our customers have requested that we provide wind energy.
How will wind-generated electricity be delivered to my home? Will I still receive power generated by traditional means?
Electricity generated by wind power will be included in Minnesota Power's total power supply portfolio. The electricity provided to your home will be drawn from that total power supply. While the electrons actually flowing into your home can not be identified by their source, your choice to participate in the WindSense program pays for the added cost of Minnesota Power supplying this resource to its customers.
Will wind-generated electricity cost more?
Yes. The higher cost of wind generation will be passed directly to the consumers who elect to specify that some of the electricity they buy be from this source. We are selling wind-generated electric energy in blocks of 100 kilowatt hours, each of which will carry a $2.50 surcharge. Although this is the most cost-effective “renewable resource” option we have identified, it is still more expensive than traditional generation methods. This is mainly because wind turbines are costly to build but can only produce power for sale when the wind blows.
How many blocks can a customer buy?
To make this opportunity available to as many customers as possible we are limiting the number of blocks you can buy to the kilowatt hours of your average monthly bill, up to a maximum of 20 blocks. In other words, if your average monthly bill is 700 kWh, you can buy up to seven blocks of wind energy.
How will the wind-generated electricity surcharge appear on my bill?
Your bill will include a line item showing $2.50 times the number of blocks you've signed up for.
How long would I have to commit for?
Customers must commit to their subscription level for at least one year, and will be able to continue monthly thereafter until you change your subscription or terminate your subscription.
How do I sign up?
Call the Minnesota Power Customer Call Center at 1-800-228-4966 (Minnesota only) and ask for the WindSense brochure, which includes a subscription agreement that you fill out and return. Or you can print the subscription agreement and mail it in.
What if I move?
If you continue to be a Minnesota Power customer, your commitment will be transferred to your new address.
Will this require any other action on my part or new equipment for my home?
No. As we noted earlier, your electricity will continue to be delivered just as it has been in the past.
Will Minnesota Power be offering other "renewable" resources in the future?
That is dependent upon Minnesota Power identifying viable renewable resources for our customers, and is up to our customers supporting such resource options. If they make it clear that our community values renewable power, we will provide it.