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Minnesota Power adds 210 megawatts of clean, low-cost wind energy generation to serve its customers

Thursday, Dec 20, 2012

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) has reached a significant milestone in its energy supply diversification strategy with the completion of phases two and three of the company’s Bison Wind Energy Center. The 210-megawatt (MW) renewable energy installations near New Salem, N.D., are now operational and the commissioning process has been completed.

“Investment in cost-effective emission-free wind energy is an important component of ALLETE’s overall growth strategy to meet the needs of a changing energy landscape.”

Bison 2 and 3 consist of 70 wind turbine generators, each capable of producing three MW of electric power by way of direct-drive turbines manufactured by Siemens AG. The turbines are installed atop 265-foot towers in south-central North Dakota.

“Like our nation, our company is in the midst of a major transition to ensure a more balanced energy supply,” said Alan R. Hodnik, ALLETE chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Investment in cost-effective emission-free wind energy is an important component of ALLETE’s overall growth strategy to meet the needs of a changing energy landscape.”

Minnesota Power is moving the wind energy from North Dakota to Duluth, Minn., over a 465-mile direct current transmission line that the company purchased in 2009. That purchase enabled Minnesota Power to phase out a long-term contract to buy coal-based electricity from the Young Station in Center, N.D., and replace it with wind energy.

A meticulous commissioning process for Bison 2 and 3 involving personnel from Minnesota Power and Siemens was completed this week. The final stage of the launch involves control testing that demonstrates that the Bison project can function as a “wind park,” with all three phases working together.

Source: Business Wire

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