Minnesota Power’s 2013 resource plan to meet the electric energy needs of its customers, preserve reliability and protect affordability was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on September 25.
Minnesota Power‘s resource plan recommended specific actions on its coal generation fleet to comply with state and federal environmental regulations, the addition of new renewable resources in the short term and a natural gas addition early in the next decade to further diversify its power supply and reduce carbon emissions.
The company’s approved plan is based on its EnergyForward resource strategy, a roadmap to providing customers with reliable, cost-effective and environmentally compliant power for decades to come. EnergyForward further transitions the company’s energy supply mix toward one-third renewable energy, one-third coal and one-third natural gas and other market resources long term through hydro and wind energy additions, coal-fired energy reductions and a post-2020 natural gas generation resource.
The company filed its biennial comprehensive resource plan March 1, 2013. It assessed environmental and economic futures affecting energy supply and demand while weighing the benefits and risks of various options to serve customers. The commission approved plan includes the following components:
· The addition of 200 MW of wind energy to Minnesota Power’s system, which the company is proposing to meet through its recently-announced Bison 4 project near New Salem, N.D.
· Delivery of 250 MW of hydropower under contract from Manitoba Hydro by 2020, with Minnesota Power planning to deliver this energy on its proposed 500-kV Great Northern Transmission Line.
· Reduction of coal-fired generation on its fleet by 185 MW through the conversion of Laskin Energy Center in Hoyt Lakes to a natural gas peaking station and the retirement of one of three units at Taconite Harbor Energy Center in Schroeder.
· Environmental retrofit of the company’s newest and largest generating unit, Boswell Unit 4.
· Continuation and enhancement of the company’s leading-edge Power of One conservation program to meet or exceed state conservation goals of 1.5 percent.
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 143,000 customers, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the U.S.
Minnesota Power is an operating division of ALLETE Inc.