Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, plans to begin construction this year on a 200 MW expansion of its Bison wind project that will deliver more economical, carbon-free energy to customers while 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.
Estimated to cost about $345 million, Bison 4 will be constructed in Oliver County, N.D., north and west of the project’s first three phases currently in operation. The expansion will include a new substation and about 11 miles of a 230-kV transmission line.
Bison 4 will increase the company’s wind portfolio by more than 50 percent to more than 600 MW of wind power. 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.
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.