News & Insights

Community Power: How to Integrate Power Generation into a Growing Community

As the electric utility industry continues to evolve, municipalities are faced with complex power supply decisions. Whether a utility is adding new capacity or retrofitting an existing facility, more communities are moving towards smaller, local generation projects – which presents new opportunities and challenges.

Municipalities can successfully integrate power generation into their community by looking beyond power generation and identifying key ways to provide more value.

Keep the community informed

People do not like surprises. Make an effort to keep the community informed through all stages – initial planning through construction and operations. Find ways to best connect with area residents and businesses:

  • Host public information meetings
  • Use multiple communication outlets to inform community members
  • Local newspapers
  • Utility websites and Facebook pages
  • Community updates – emails to area officials, police/fire, etc.
  • Host a grand opening – invite the public to tour the facility once it’s up and running

Promote increased electric reliability

Reliability is a key concern for communities and the homes and businesses they serve. By connecting to the local distribution system, a power generation facility can directly serve the community in which it resides. This is an attractive feature for businesses, such as data centers and large manufacturing facilities, as it adds an additional layer of protection in the event that there is a disruption in grid service.

Support business development

When developing a power generation facility, it is important to promote relationships and partnerships with area businesses. Power plant’s have many opportunities to support business development, including supplying waste heat and sharing resources to local businesses.

Create local jobs

Demonstrate your commitment to the community and support the local economy by seeking local contractors and businesses to provide products and services to support the facility’s needs.

Encourage Energy Education

Design a facility that can serve as an educational tool that encourages engagement with area residents and businesses. Identify opportunities to teach the local community about power generation, electricity, career opportunities, and the power of their hometown.

Real-World Result: Shakopee Energy Park
Owner: Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA)
Planned, Developed, & Implemented by: Avant Energy, Inc.