Minnesota Power expands wind power portfolio

Published on December 26, 2018 by Douglas Clark

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The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved last week Minnesota Power’s 20-year purchase agreement with Tenaska Inc., for 250 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, expanding the utility’s wind portfolio to 870 megawatts capacity.

Minnesota Power owns and operates the 496.6-megawatt Bison Wind Energy Center and has power purchase agreements for 98.6 megawatts with the Oliver County I and II wind sites, all near Center, North Dakota.

Officials said the energy for the utility, a division of ALLETE Inc., would be supplied by Tenaska’s Nobles 2 wind farm in Nobles County on the Buffalo Ridge, subject to a written order from the commission.

The location is in the area of southwestern Minnesota known for its high-quality wind resource already home to a number of operating wind farms.

“The Nobles 2 agreement is a key component of Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy to transform the company’s energy mix to 44 percent renewables by 2025,” Brad Oachs, ALLETE senior vice president and president of regulated operations, said. “Our customers will benefit from low-cost energy, our environment will benefit from lower carbon emissions, and Minnesota will benefit from growth in the state’s renewable energy industry land its associated tax revenue.”

Oachs said projects such as Nobles 2 create a sustainable future economically and environmentally for all of Minnesota Power’s stakeholders.

Tenaska expects to begin construction at the site in 2019. The price for electricity from Nobles 2 reflects the project’s qualification for 100 percent of federal renewable energy production tax credits while the site’s location adds geographic diversity to Minnesota Power’s wind fleet, which is mostly in North Dakota.