Minnesota Power Announces Plans For Bison II Wind Project

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Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company, has submitted plans to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), to construct a second wind 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 portfolio standard of 25% 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 North Dakota eastward, including to the company's service area.

The DC line already brings wind energy from the first phase of Bison I, the company's initial commercial wind energy facility in North Dakota. The DC line is also used to deliver wind energy that Minnesota Power purchases from the Oliver I and II wind projects in Center, N.D.

The 105 MW Bison II project is expected to be online in 2012. The project will use 35 3 MW Siemens direct-drive wind turbines, which are also being used at Bison I. The scope of supply for the wind power plant for Siemens includes the transportation, erection and commissioning of the 35 wind turbines, as well as a three-year service and maintenance agreement.

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 company plans to file a site permit application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission in April.

SOURCE: Minnesota Power

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