Duluth, Minn., March 25, 2011 – Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Co., announces the expansion of its wind energy development in North Dakota by 105 MW in 2012, taking advantage of cost-effective transmission access, tax credits and wind resources.
The Minnesota Power submitted plans to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission this week, to construct a second wind power project, consisting of 35 wind turbines in Oliver and Morton counties in central North Dakota.
The $157 million project will help move Minnesota Power closer to meeting Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard of achieving 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.
Minnesota Power purchased a high voltage direct current transmission line in December of 2009 that runs between the Square Butte Substation in Center, N.D. and Minnesota Power’s Arrowhead Substation near Duluth.
The DC line is being used to move renewable energy from wind-rich North Dakota eastward, including to the company’s service area. It already brings wind energy from the first phase of Bison 1, the company’s initial commercial wind energy facility in North Dakota.
The DC line is also used to deliver wind energy which Minnesota Power purchases from the Oliver I and II Wind Energy Centers, constructed near Center, N.D. in 2006 and 2007.
Bison 2 is expected to be online in 2012, and will use state of the art direct-drive 3 MW Siemens turbines like those being installed this year at Bison 1. The second phase of Bison 1 is scheduled to be completed this year.
The filing with the MPUC will have no effect on Minnesota Power’s base electric rates. However, it seeks current cost recovery eligibility that, if approved, would allow Minnesota Power to recover costs under its Renewable Resources Rider. The project is bringing competitively priced energy that will in the near term reduce customers’ costs.
The company plans to file a site permit application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission in April.