Minnesota Power Purchases 250-kV DC Line

Minnesota Power has finalized the purchase of a 465-mile transmission line for approximately US $70 million. The 250-kilovolt line connects Center, North Dakota with the Arrowhead Substation in Hermantown, Minnesota and is expected to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects.

“Finalizing this purchase will allow us to deliver more clean energy to our customers and the Upper Midwest in a cost effective manner while supporting our efforts to meet Minnesota’s aggressive mandate of producing 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025,” said Don Shippar, CEO of Minnesota Power’s parent company Allete.

The company purchased the direct current (DC) transmission line from the Square Butte Electric Cooperative. Minnesota Power plans to develop several hundred megawatts of new wind generation in North Dakota and deliver wind energy to customers via the DC line.

Minnesota Power is already laying the groundwork for construction of its Bison wind farm, a 75-megawatt (MW) installation near New Salem, North Dakota. The project, which will see the installation of 33 turbines, each with a 2.3 MW capacity, will be installed in two phases. Phase one, which will involve the construction of the first 16 turbines, is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2010.

In November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued written orders authorizing Minnesota Power’s acquisition of the transmission facilities. On December 21, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued its written order approving Minnesota Power’s purchase of the DC line.

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