Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro have entered into a long-term agreement for the purchase of renewable energy and the construction of additional transmission capacity.
Under the agreement, Manitoba Hydro will sell 250 MW of electricity to Minnesota Power for 15 years, beginning in 2020. The contract also involves a ‘wind storage’ provision that entitles Minnesota Power to transmit electricity northward from its wind farms in North Dakota when wind production is high or electric loads are low.
Manitoba Hydro produces most of its power from hydroelectric stations in the northern reaches of the province. When Minnesota Power transmits power northward, Manitoba Hydro will absorb it into its system – in essence, storing the wind power and using the Manitoba system as a rechargeable battery, the companies say.
In addition, the agreement provides for the construction of additional transmission capacity between Manitoba and the U.S. As part of the overall arrangement, Minnesota Power has primary rights to new transmission with Manitoba Hydro for the delivery of the capacity and energy under the agreement. Discussions on various transmission configurations are under way between the two utilities and the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator.