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Duluth-based electric utility Minnesota Power has announced the completion of phases two and three of the company's Bison Wind Energy Center. The two installations, located near New Salem, N.D., generate a combined 210 MW of wind power.

Now that Minnesota Power and its primary contractor and turbine supplier, Siemens, have completed the commissioning process for Bison 2 and 3, the final stage of the launch involves control testing that demonstrates the Bison project can function as a "wind park," with all three phases working together. The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator will be involved in integrating the completed wind park into the regional power grid.

Minnesota Power's Bison project was launched in 2010, and the 82 MW Bison 1 wind farm was built over two years. The utility is moving the project's wind energy from North Dakota to Duluth, Minn., over a 465-mile direct-current transmission line that the company purchased in 2009. Minnesota Power says that purchase enabled the company to phase out a long-term contract to buy coal-based electricity from the Young Station in Center, N.D., and replace it with wind energy.



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