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Minnesota Power, a Duluth-based division of ALLETE Inc., has unveiled its EnergyForward resource strategy. Among other initiatives, the utility's EnergyForward plan calls for renewable energy investments, construction of a major transmission line to facilitate delivery of hydropower, and sustained energy-conservation programs.

Now that it has completed three phases of the Bison Wind project in North Dakota, Minnesota Power notes that it is delivering more than 400 MW of wind energy to customers. With the recent extension of the federal production tax credit on wind generation equipment, the company says it is analyzing adding more wind power to its energy mix.

In addition, Minnesota Power says it will further leverage its renewable resources through a power purchase agreement with Manitoba Hydro for 250 MW of hydropower beginning in 2020. The company is proposing to deliver the energy on a new 500 kV transmission line stretching from the Canadian border to northeastern Minnesota, expected to be completed by 2020.

"Our plan builds on the tremendous progress we've made to achieve a more balanced and sustainable energy mix in a cost-competitive manner,” says Al Hodnik, ALLETE chairman, president and CEO. “Our North Dakota wind operations have more than tripled the amount of renewable energy on our system in a short time, moving our power supply from five percent renewable energy in 2005, to 20 percent this year.”

As part of its EnergyForward plan, Minnesota Power says it will also upgrade the largest hydroelectric system in the state by increasing efficiencies at its Thomson and Fond du Lac hydroelectric stations. At the same time, the company plans to continue its Power of One conservation program, which provides customers with tools to lower their energy usage.


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