Allete to add 200 MW to North Dakota wind power farm

Thu Aug 1, 2013 10:35am EDT

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Aug 1 (Reuters) - Allete Inc's Minnesota Power unit plans to start expanding its Bison wind farm in North Dakota by 200 megawatts later this year, enabling the company to meet Minnesota's renewable energy requirements about 10 years early.

Allete said in a statement it expects to start work on the $345 million Bison 4 expansion in the fourth quarter, adding 64 more wind turbines to the 101 turbines already installed.

The new turbines would produce enough energy for about 92,000 homes and enter service by the end of 2014.

The company said the expansion would make the Bison project, with about 500 MW of capacity, the largest single wind energy center in North Dakota.

"The Bison expansion moves us closer to achieving a more diverse energy mix of one-third renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas," said Allete Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Al Hodnik in the statement.

Minnesota`s renewable energy standard requires utilities generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Allete said with the Bison expansion it expects to meet the state requirement in 2015.

The expansion project requires regulatory approvals in North Dakota and Minnesota, Allete said.

Minnesota Power provides electric service to 143,000 customers in northeastern Minnesota.

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