Major Wind Project Planned for Minnesota

John Davis

In a move to expand its renewable wind energy development, while reducing carbon emissions, Minnesota Power has announced a plan to buy a North Dakota power line and use that infrastructure to move wind-generated electricity.

This article from Finance and Commerce says that the Duluth-based company has already been buying about half of the coal-generated power that has been moving through the line:

The transmission line will instead be used to pipe wind power to Minnesota customers. Mullen said the majority of Minnesota Power’s energy is derived from coal, and the transition will help the company meet the state standard of 25 percent renewable energy. The plan is to transfer the line’s the power source from coal to wind over the course of a decade, shifting to 100 percent wind energy by 2025.

“We’re finding it very competitive right now to go out and find the right renewable energy mix,” including power from water, wind and wood, [vice president of marketing and public affairs with Minnesota Power Pat] Mullen said. “This project alone should get us to, and probably exceed, our renewable energy goal.”

Minnesota Power owns two 50-megawatt wind farms near Young Unit 2 that are already up and running.

Mullen said the utility plans to begin developing several hundred megawatts of new wind generation near Center, N.D., once the transmission line purchase is complete.

Minnesota Power serves 141,000 retail customers, as well as some of the biggest industrial companies in the country.