Duluth, Minn., February 7, 2012 — Renewable energy is flowing to the power grid from Minnesota Power's newest wind farm near New Salem, N.D., where the company has commissioned 15 wind turbines, completing its Bison 1 Wind Energy Center.
Bison 1A, the first phase of the 82-MW installation, was completed about a year ago and has been producing renewable energy since then.
Midway through construction of Bison 1A, which consists of 16 turbines rated at 2.3 MW, Minnesota Power decided to deploy upgraded 3 MW Siemens turbines featuring direct drive power units. Bison 1B will deliver more wind energy for about the same cost as Bison 1A.
Work is well underway on Minnesota Power's Bison 2 and Bison 3 wind farms, located adjacent to the Bison 1 installation in Oliver and Morton Counties. Bison 2 and 3 will each consist of 35 of the Siemens 3-MW direct-drive turbines, and together they'll supply an additional 210 MW of renewable energy.
Work on Bison 2 & 3 continues with favorable fall and winter weather allowing solid progress on roads, foundations and balance of plant systems in support of a planned end of 2012 completion.
In approving Minnesota Power's long-term resource plan last May, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered the company to strongly consider adding more wind to its renewable portfolio before the expiration of federal production tax credits on December 31, 2012.
Minnesota Power, a division of Allete, Inc., supplies electric service to 144,000 residents, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the U.S.