ALLETE Inc : Minnesota Power Wins Project of the Year for Wind Energy at … – 4

November 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Minnesota Power’s Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem, N.D. was
voted the best wind project of the year at the 2013 POWER-GEN
International Conference and Exhibition awards banquet in Florida.

A new Bison wind turbine near New Salem, N.D. (Photo: Business Wire)

A new Bison wind turbine near New Salem, N.D. (Photo: Business Wire)

Sponsored by Power Engineering magazine and RenewableEnergyWorld.com,
the award is considered the industry’s top honor for a new wind
generation project. Projects of the year were announced in eight
different categories at a gala awards banquet last night at the
Universal Resort in Orlando, Fla.

“It’s gratifying to be honored by your peers for conceiving and
completing a world-class renewable energy project,” said Al Hodnik,
chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE Inc., (NYSE: ALE) the parent
company of Minnesota Power. “The renewable energy experts who voted the
Bison project as the best wind project understood the interstate
networking required, the creative asset swap that made transmission
possible, and the innovation our people and partners demonstrated,”
Hodnik added. “Wind generation is a critical component in achieving our
EnergyForward resource strategy of an energy mix that is one-third
renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas as we help transform
the nation’s energy landscape.”

BrightSource Energy’s Marble River Wind Farm in Clinton, N.Y. was the
other finalist in the “best wind project” competition. The 229-megawatt
(MW) wind farm is owned by Horizon Wind Energy and EDP Renewables, a
subsidiary of Energias de Portugal. It consists of 72 Vestas turbines,
which, at 3MW each, are the largest ever approved for use in New York.

Minnesota Power was honored for phases 2 and 3 of the Bison Project,
whose capacity of 292 MW includes 85 state-of-the-art direct-drive
Siemens 3MW turbines. Bison is located in an area with some of the
highest quality wind in North America. The energy is delivered to
customers using a repurposed direct current transmission line,
originally built in the 1970s to send coal-based power from Center, N.D.
to Duluth, Minn.

The Bison project features a unique arrangement with Manitoba Hydro
whereby wind energy from the Bison project can be stored in
hydroelectric reserves in Canada, essentially providing a battery
storage mechanism when wind is high or customer demand is low. Bison’s
wind blades also utilize patented “dino tail” technology that operates
more quietly and efficiently.

“The Bison project crossed utility boundaries and state jurisdictions to
bring affordable, carbon-free energy to our customers,” said Al Rudeck,
Minnesota Power vice president of strategy and planning. “And we’re
proud to have tapped a world-class generation source by selecting
Siemens to provide the latest in innovative turbine technology.”

When building the Bison turbines, Minnesota Power right-of-way agents
corresponded with 270 landowners, instilling a mutual sense of trust
that the project would only have positive effects for all involved.
Minnesota Power completed construction in an accelerated time frame in
order to capitalize on federal Production Tax Credits expiring in 2012.

On Aug. 1, Minnesota Power announced it was moving ahead with phase 4 of
the Bison project pending regulatory approval, a 205MW addition that
will make it the largest wind farm in North Dakota at nearly 500 MW of
capacity.

The project of the year awards recognize the world’s best power
projects, honoring excellence in design, construction and operation of
power generation facilities. The award winners are nominated by industry
professionals and selected by a panel of judges from Power Engineering
magazine, the voice of the power generation industry with more than
70,000 readers.

Minnesota Power provides retail electric service within a
26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota to 143,000 customers
and wholesale electric service to 16 municipalities. More information
can be found at: www.mnpower.com.

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.

Minnesota Power
Amy Rutledge, 218-723-7400
Manager?Corporate
Communications
Cell: 218-348-2961
arutledge@mnpower.com

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