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Minnesota Power has completed phases two and three of the company's 292 MW Bison Wind Energy Center.

The second and third phases of the Bison project total 210 MW and are now operational. Together, Bison 2 and 3 consist of 70 3 MW Siemens direct-drive wind turbines with 265-foot towers.

The Bison project was launched in 2010 with the 82 MW Bison 1 wind farm, which consists of 31 turbines built over two years.

Minnesota Power is moving the wind energy from North Dakota to Duluth, Minn., over a 465-mile direct-current transmission line that the company purchased in 2009. That purchase enabled the utility 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.

The final stage of the project launch involves control testing that demonstrates that 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.


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