Murray County project will benefit the local economy and environment for decades to come.
ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE (NYSE: ALE), and Mortenson are bringing the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy to rural Minnesota as Gov. Tim Walz declares August 15-19, 2022, “American Clean Power Week.”
Walz’s declaration correlates with the American Clean Power Association’s annual nationwide celebration of clean energy and the good-paying jobs the industry creates for Americans across all 50 states. American Clean Power Week showcases the clean-energy technologies—wind, solar, energy storage and transmission infrastructure—that power homes and businesses, invest in communities, reduce costs for customers, and help to meet the national 100% carbon-free power goal by 2035.
ALLETE Clean Energy and Mortenson are advancing a repowering project at ALLETE Clean Energy’s Northern Wind site that exemplifies the great strides in wind power technology. It also reflects a reinvestment in the surrounding communities, which preserves local jobs and tax base by improving an existing wind site to keep it operating for decades to come.
Northern Wind is on southwestern Minnesota’s Buffalo Ridge, the second-highest point in Minnesota and one of the nation’s best wind resources. Northern Wind began operations in 2003 and was acquired by ALLETE Clean Energy in 2015.
The original Northern Wind site had 65 1.5-megawatt early generation General Electric wind turbines capable of producing about 280,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. When repowered with 37 larger, modern turbines, it will produce about 370,000 megawatt-hours per year, an energy production increase of about 30% from 40% fewer turbines.
“The Northern Wind project capitalizes on advances in material science with new wind turbines that are taller with longer ‘wingspans,’ larger wind-swept rotors that capture more wind energy and convert it to electricity,” said Allan S. Rudeck Jr., President of ALLETE Clean Energy. “This project is the latest example of our sustainability in action strategy to advance clean-energy solutions while investing in local communities. It will help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions while maintaining affordable electric rates for customers.”
The new turbines at the site will have tower hub heights of 80 to 90 meters, compared with 65 meters for the early generation turbines. The rotor tips will reach a maximum height of 152 meters above the ground, 53 meters taller than the older turbines.
Mortenson is installing the new turbines at Northern Wind, with towers now being erected, to be followed by lifting the rotor assemblies into place.
“We are honored to work alongside ALLETE Clean Energy to repower the Northern Wind site,” said Mortenson General Manager Jesse Canzler. “We are also proud of what this project represents in our home state of Minnesota. American Clean Power Week is a great time to reflect on the growing possibilities of clean energy construction and the positive impacts it will provide for future generations.”
As the old turbines are removed from the site, more than 90% of the turbine bodies, wiring, and foundation concrete and rebar is recycled, further adding to the project’s environmental benefits.
When complete in late 2022, the repowered wind project will be sold to Xcel Energy. In the summer of 2020, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission requested Minnesota utilities to identify and propose projects that could help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession by putting people to work and increasing the amount of renewable energy while also reducing costs for electric customers. Xcel Energy issued a request for proposals and ultimately selected Northern Wind as one such project, in a build-transfer commercial arrangement.
“We are pleased to partner with ALLETE Clean Energy and Mortenson on the Northern Wind repowering project,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “It will serve our customers with reliable, affordable and clean energy for years to come as Xcel Energy targets an 85% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, moving toward our goal of delivering 100% carbon-free electricity to all customers by 2050.”
In addition to improving the site’s efficiency, extending its working life and lowering carbon emissions, the repowering project supports the local economy and advances a clean energy future.
“We all benefit when we reinvest in existing energy sites, extending their lives and increasing their capacity to generate clean power,” Rudeck said. “We’re proud to have worked closely with Xcel Energy to develop and deliver this innovative project that supports rural Minnesota’s economy and will benefit Minnesota electric customers and the climate for decades to come.”
ALLETE Clean Energy acquires, develops and operates clean and renewable energy projects and is well-positioned to drive additional clean-energy sector growth. ALLETE Clean Energy owns, operates, has in advanced construction and has delivered build-transfer projects totaling more than 1,500 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity across eight states.
ALLETE Inc. is an energy company headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth; BNI Energy in Bismarck, North Dakota; and New Energy Equity, headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland; and has an 8% equity interest in the American Transmission Co. More information about ALLETE is available at www.allete.com. ALE-CORP
The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.