Minnesota Power buys transmission line for wind power projects

Duluth, Minn., January 4, 2010 — Minnesota Power finalized the purchase of a 465-mile transmission line, which the utility will use to integrate more renewable energy onto the power grid.

For about $70 million, Minnesota Power has acquired a 250-kilovolt line connecting Center, N.D. with its Arrowhead Substation in Hermantown, Minn.

Purchase of the direct current transmission line from the Square Butte Electric Cooperative will further Minnesota Power’s long range plan to bring more renewable energy into its system.

The company plans to develop several hundred megawatts of new wind generation in North Dakota and deliver wind power to customers via the DC line.

Minnesota Power is laying the groundwork for construction of its Bison wind farm, a 75-MW installation near New Salem, N.D.

The project, consisting of 33 turbines with a 2.3 MW capacity each, will be installed in two phases. Phase one, which will involve the construction of the first 16 turbines, is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2010.

In November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued written orders authorizing Minnesota Power’s acquisition of the transmission facilities.

On December 21, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued its written order approving Minnesota Power’s purchase of the DC line.

Minnesota Power provides retail electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota to 144,000 customers and wholesale electric service to 16 municipalities.



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