Thursday, August 1, 2013

Minnesota Power to Expand Bison Wind Farm

Duluth, Minn.—Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE), plans to begin construction  this year on a 200-megawatt expansion of its Bison wind project that will deliver more economical,  carbon-free energy to customers while substantially 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.

Bison 4 will increase the company’s wind portfolio by more than 50 percent to more than 600  megawatts of wind generation. 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.

The wind farm expansion will make Minnesota Power’s Bison project, with about 500 megawatts of capacity, the largest single wind energy center in North Dakota. Minnesota Power has optioned more than 50,000 more acres in North Dakota to accommodate the expansion. The company now has landowner relationships representing more than 130,000 acres across the growing Bison footprint. Renewable energy generated by the Bison project is transmitted to Minnesota Power’s Arrowhead Substation near Duluth over a 465-mile direct current transmission line the company acquired in 2009.

Estimated to cost approximately $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 approximately 11 miles of a 230-kilovolt transmission line.

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