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Duluth, Minn.-based Minnesota Power's first fully owned and operated commercial wind project in North Dakota is moving forward with an agreement to purchase 33 wind turbines and the initiation of the regulatory approval processes in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The 75 MW Bison I Wind Project located near Center, N.D., is comprised of 33 2.3 MW Siemens wind turbines and will be built in two phases: 16 turbines installed in 2010 and 17 turbines installed in 2011.

The turbines have a hub height of 262 feet and a rotor diameter of 332 feet. At full capacity, the project will generate an estimated 300,000 MWh. The estimated $180 million investment is part of ALLETE subsidiary Minnesota Power's commitment to diversify its energy mix and grow its renewable portfolio.

The Bison I Wind Project will be located near an existing DC transmission line, which runs between the Square Butte Substation in Center, N.D., and Minnesota Power's Arrowhead Substation in Duluth. The line will deliver renewable energy to Minnesota Power customers from the 75 MW wind project and wind development planned for the future. The company expects to close on the $80 million DC line purchase later this year, pending state and federal regulatory approval.

"North Dakota has some of the best wind in the country, our business relationship in the state stretches over the past 30 years and we look forward to working with our neighbors once again to harness this inexhaustible source of energy and deliver it to customers," says Don Shippar, ALLETE chairman, president and CEO.

The 16 turbines for the first phase are expected to arrive at the Duluth-Superior Port during summer 2010, with these wind turbines slated to be fully operational by year-end 2010. The remaining 17 turbines will also likely arrive at the Duluth-Superior Port during summer 2011, with these turbines slated to be fully operational during fall 2011.

In the meantime, Minnesota Power will be seek permits from the North Dakota Public Service Commission and hold informational meetings with landowners and other community stakeholders, as well as seeking approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and other regulatory entities.

SOURCE: ALLETE Inc.



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