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Willmar Utilities, seven other utilities form planning group

BLUE EARTH -- Willmar Municipal Utilities and seven other electric utilities have announced the formation of the Resource Planning Coalition.

The coalition will conduct power supply planning for the participants to look at their aggregate long-term resource needs. The coalition will then seek requests for proposals in early fall to find resources to serve the power supply needs of each participant.

Collectively, the coalition will be looking for up to 700 megawatts of base load, intermediate and peaking resources, including both long-term purchases and project ownership opportunities, to supply their aggregated needs for the next five to 30 years.

"We are very pleased that the participants are willing to work together to seek options for their individual and mutual benefit and to achieve economies of scale in such activities," said Bruce Gomm, Willmar Municipal Utilities general manager and chairman of the coalition's coordinating committee. "Our collective goal is to find the best long-term, stable prices possible for the retail customers we serve."

Coalition project manager will be Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency of Blue Earth. Central Minnesota deputy CEO Steve Thompson said his agency will manage the planning and request for proposal evaluation process.

"We will analyze and assess the power supply needs of the individual participants and identify the optimal resource mix, which results in the least-cost plan for each of the participants,'' he said.

Other participants are Upper Midwest Municipal Power Agency, Nashwauk Public Utilities Commission, Elk River Municipal Utilities, Dahlberg Light and Power Company, Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company and North Central Power Co. Inc.