Minnesota Power announces 200-megawatt wind addition as part of its EnergyForward plan
Friday, Aug 02, 2013
Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE), plans to begin construction this year on a 200-megawatt expansion of its Bison wind project that will deliver more economical, carbon-free energy to customers while substantially meeting Minnesota’s renewable energy standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. The project will be the single largest wind addition to the company’s fleet.
“Expanding Bison will add to our renewable energy supply, resulting in the lowest cost resource over time by capturing the benefits of the extended production tax credit and a competitive turbine market, while executing ALLETE’s growth strategy.”
Bison 4 will increase the company’s wind portfolio by more than 50 percent to more than 600 megawatts of wind generation. Construction on phase 4 of the Bison Wind Energy Center, anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter this year, will add 64 more wind turbines to the 101 turbines Minnesota Power has installed since 2010 near New Salem, N.D. Estimated to be operational by the end of 2014, the project will generate enough energy to power 92,000 homes.
“We’ve found a way to meet the state of Minnesota’s renewable energy standard early and reduce costs at the same time,” said Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE. “Expanding Bison will add to our renewable energy supply, resulting in the lowest cost resource over time by capturing the benefits of the extended production tax credit and a competitive turbine market, while executing ALLETE’s growth strategy.”
Adding more wind to its generation mix is a key component of the company’s EnergyForward plan for a less emission-intense energy supply. As part of the company’s resource evaluation, it solicited requests for wind power proposals in the spring of 2013. Bison 4 was selected as the lowest cost project.
“Investing in wind now makes economic and environmental sense and reflects our commitment to transform our nation’s energy supply and meet state environmental goals while helping to ensure the reliable and affordable power our customers expect,” Hodnik said. “The Bison expansion also moves us closer to achieving a more diverse energy mix of one-third renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas.”
The wind farm expansion will make Minnesota Power’s Bison project, with about 500 megawatts of capacity, the largest single wind energy center in North Dakota. Minnesota Power has optioned more than 50,000 more acres in North Dakota to accommodate the expansion. The company now has landowner relationships representing more than 130,000 acres across the growing Bison footprint. Renewable energy generated by the Bison project is transmitted to Minnesota Power’s Arrowhead Substation near Duluth over a 465-mile direct current transmission line the company acquired in 2009.
Source: Business Wire