Minnesota Power hydroelectricity purchase aids wind integration

January 30, 2012 — A 15-year power purchase agreement that calls for Minnesota Power to buy carbon-free hydroelectricity from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2020 has been unanimously approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

The 250 MW PPA will provide a competitive energy resource for customers of Minnesota Power, a utility division of Allete. Additional hydropower will support Minnesota Power resource planning goals of more efficiency, flexibility and diversity while lessening its dependence on coal and lowering emissions from its generation fleet.

According to Minnesota Power, a unique aspect of the PPA is the utility's ability to "store" wind energy generated in North Dakota in Manitoba Hydro's hydroelectric system.

Through a provision in the agreement, Minnesota Power will be able to deliver electric energy northward from its wind farms in North Dakota when wind production is high and electric loads are low, therefore maximizing the value of its wind resources.

Minnesota Power says by the end of 2012, its wind portfolio will have more than 400 MW of installed capacity.

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