FREE SPEECH ZONE | Mahtomedi Zephyr Wind Project is community-wide effort and powerful educational tool


About six years ago, on a cool, windy fall evening at a Mahtomedi High School soccer game, parents sat huddled together, trying to stay warm. The group thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to produce something positive from the cool breezes—perhaps harvest the wind to produce clean energy and show our commitment to the environment?”

Several in that group took that idea to heart, organized with other community members to form the Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative (MAGI), and today that dream is reality in the form of the Mahtomedi Zephyr Wind Turbine. A 10 kW, 120-foot wind turbine stands tall at the athletic field, generating power for the stadium’s lights and scoreboard and serving an even larger role as an educational tool for the community.

“It’s in a great location for catching the wind and for its visibility,” said Paul Hoff, a member of MAGI. “It sends a strong message that our community is committed to clean energy.”

“Indeed, it’s a source of pride for the people of Mahtomedi,” added Jeanne Zlonis, a MAGI member who helped lead fundraising for the project.

On the night the turbine was dedicated—September 8, 2011 before a Mahtomedi High School football game—the turbine’s effectiveness was showcased for all to see. “The turbine blades were turning even though the flags on the goalposts were still,” reported Hoff. “So the high tower was making a difference. The next Friday was another home game with a steadier breeze, and another large crowd watched a close game with the turbine powering the scoreboard and lights.”

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This case study was created by the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources, Department of Commerce. Click here to see other success stories.

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