Minnesota Power aims for 100% carbon-free energy with a major wind energy proposal.

In a crucial step toward attaining a 100% carbon-free energy future, Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Inc. (NYSE: ALE) utility business, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 400 megawatts of wind energy to be operational by the end of 2027.

Minnesota Power 100% carbon-free energy

This effort is a critical component of the company’s ambitious EnergyForward plan, which aims to convert to 100% carbon-free energy sources.

The RFP is consistent with Minnesota Power’s 2021 Integrated Resource Plan, which gained approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This plan details the company’s intention to adding up to 300 megawatts of solar energy (currently under separate RFP review) and 400 megawatts of wind generation to its energy mix.

The new wind energy acquisition is estimated to increase Minnesota Power’s wind capacity by over 50%, adding to its current 870 megawatts of owned and contracted wind energy. Minnesota Power now provides more than half of its 150,000 retail customers with renewable energy, marking a big step forward in its sustainability path.

Minnesota Power’s quest for wind resources focuses on cost-effectiveness and geographic compatibility within MISO Local Resource Zone 1, assuring direct connections to the transmission system and the possibility of commercial production in 2026 or 2027. The corporation intends to use the Inflation Reduction Act and other federal legislation to maximize wind development benefits.

This includes giving precedence to projects that benefit energy-impacted communities, encouraging diversity among bidders, using domestically sourced materials, and adhering to local pay requirements. Furthermore, the effort aims to create local jobs, economic advantages, and renewable technology training programs.

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Josh Skelton, Minnesota Power’s Chief Operating Officer, emphasized the company’s comprehensive strategy to attaining a carbon-free future. “Sustainability for the climate, customers, and communities is critical to mutual success. We are committed to promoting initiatives that not only add to our renewable energy portfolio but also help to create local jobs and economic growth,” Skelton remarked.

He also stressed the strategic importance of new wind production projects in the Upper Midwest, which are prepared to capitalize on the region’s abundant wind resources and contribute to a dependable, round-the-clock energy supply for customers.

Minnesota Power will review proposals for both build-own-transfer and power purchase agreement projects, with a preference for those ranging from 100 to 200 megawatts. An impartial third-party evaluator will be involved in the selection process to guarantee that all entries are reviewed transparently and objectively. This effort represents a significant advancement in Minnesota Power’s commitment to environmental stewardship and renewable energy leadership in the region.

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