Minnesota Power issues RFP for wind energy

Published on February 16, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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Minnesota Power issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking up to 400 megawatts of wind energy to come online by the end of 2027.

The RFP is in line with the company’s 2021 Integrated Resource Plan approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The plan calls for the company to acquire up to 300 megawatts of solar energy, which is being evaluated in a separate RFP, and 400 megawatts of wind generation.

The procurement of wind through this RFP will increase Minnesota Power’s wind portfolio by 50 percent to about 870 megawatts of owned and contracted capacity. It will also help the company and state meet carbon-free goals in the coming decades. Currently, the company delivers more than 50 percent of its renewable energy to its 150,000 retail customers.

Through this RFP, Minnesota Power is seeking cost-effective wind resources that are within the MISO Local Resource Zone 1. The wind power also must have direct interconnections to the transmission system and the ability to enter commercial production in 2026 or 2027.

“The carbon-free future must be sustainable for the climate, customers and communities for everyone to thrive, so we seek projects that will create local jobs, local economic benefits and train people in renewable technologies,” Minnesota Power Chief Operating Officer Josh Skelton said. “New wind generation in the Upper Midwest can tap into an excellent wind resource and maximize use of regional transmission assets to deliver renewable energy to our customers and fits well with our portfolio of other energy supply resources to reliably meet customer demands around the clock.”

This RFP will attempt to maximize the benefits of wind development and federal legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act. This includes preferences for projects in energy-impacted communities, diverse bidders, domestically sourced materials, and requirements for using local prevailing wages, local labor for construction and permanent staffing, and the development of apprenticeship programs.

Minnesota Power will consider both build-own-transfer and power purchase agreement projects, with a preference for projects between 100 and 200 megawatts in both categories.

The proposals will be screened by Minnesota Power with the help of an independent third-party evaluator. Proposals will be accepted through April 11.

Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of Allete, provides electric service in northeastern Minnesota to 150,000 customers, 14 municipalities, and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.