Minnesota Power's Wind Energy Project Reaches Milestone
Sep 08, 2008 - Business Wire
Minnesota Power's plan to harness wind energy from the
plains of North Dakota and transmit it to customers took
an important step forward with the signing of an agreement
to purchase an interstate transmission line and phase out
a long-term contract to buy coal-generated electricity.
Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company (NYSE:ALE), announced
its intent to buy the transmission line in May as part of
its strategy to develop wind energy in order to meet a state
mandate requiring a 25 percent renewable energy supply by
Under the agreement, the company will purchase a direct
current (DC) transmission line from Square Butte Electric
Cooperative for approximately $80 million. The 465 mile
line currently transports coal-generated energy from the
Milton R. Young generating station in Center, N.D. to a
Minnesota Power substation in Hermantown, Minn. As part
of the deal, Minnesota Power will gradually phase out the
power it purchases from the Young station and replace it
with wind generated electricity. The transaction is subject
to regulatory approvals and is anticipated to close in 2009.
"We want to be out in front in wind development," said
ALLETE CEO Don Shippar." We are committed to meeting the
state mandate to deliver more renewable energy, while at
the same time investing in utility projects that make sense."
The Company's wind development plans include adding several
hundred megawatts of new generation near Center, N.D., with
plans to install the first wind turbines by 2010, and using
the existing DC line to deliver this renewable energy to
One of the biggest constraints on wind energy's growth
in the U.S. is the capacity of the transmission grid to
deliver power to customers, according to the American Wind
Energy Association (AWEA). North Dakota ranks as the top
state in the U.S. for potential wind capacity, according
to the AWEA.
"We plan to be a significant wind developer in the Upper
Midwest," Shippar added. "The DC Line purchase will provide
us with the advantage of having a ready-made vehicle to
transmit renewable energy to our customers."
Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company, supplies electric service
to 141,000 retail customers, 16 municipalities and some
of the largest industrial customers in the United States.
The statements contained in this release and statements
that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release
that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements.
Actual results may differ materially from those projected
in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking
statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors
are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by
ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.