Minnesota Power announced its EnergyForward plans to transition to 44 percent renewable energy by 2025 using solar, wind and natural gas. The utility would add a total of 510 megawatts of renewable and natural gas between now and 2025 under a new filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC).
“For the past four years, EnergyForward has been exceeding expectations for how an energy company can transform the way it produces and delivers energy,” said Brad Oachs, ALLETE president of Regulated Operations. “We look forward to working with our customers and regulators to continue down the path toward a safe, reliable, cleaner and affordable energy future.”
Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company, already has 620 megawatts of wind power. Under its proposal it would invest $350 million to add 250 megawatts of wind power and 10 megawatts of solar—doubling the amount of solar power it has, under a 25-year power purchase agreement with Cypress Creek Renewables. The utility also would add 250 megawatts of combined-cycle natural gas generation under the proposal. The new plan follows the utility’s request for proposals last year for up to 300 megawatts each of wind and solar power.
“We believe this resource package is the best way to meet changing customer expectations for clean energy while preserving safe, affordable and reliable supplies of energy for the customers who depend on us to power homes, schools, hospitals and the natural resource based industry that fuels our region’s economy, “ Oachs said.
If the commission approves the proposal, which Minnesota Power said will help keep costs low, it will up the utility well on its way to sourcing two-thirds of its energy from renewables. Other sources of its renewable energy will come from biomass and hydroelectric power from Canada.
The utility also said its proposing a jointly owned 525 megawatt to 550 megawatt natural gas plant, which it would co-own Dairyland Power Cooperative. Minnesota Power would purchase roughly 50 percent of the power from the power plant, which would be built in Wisconsin. The ability of natural gas to meet power needs when wind and solar are not producing quickly will help ensure the utility doesn't need to bring on peaker plants, which are more expensive.
“Through a unique partnership with Dairyland Power Cooperative and access to a competitive natural gas supply, this approximately $350 million investment will further balance Minnesota Power’s energy mix while contributing meaningful growth for ALLETE’s shareholders,” said ALLETE CEO Al Hodnik. “Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward investments and industrial load prospects complement nicely the nexus of energy and water growth initiatives already announced and additional opportunities being pursued by ALLETE Clean Energy and US Water.”
The utility said it’s already meeting or exceeding Minnesota’s clean energy requirements and already sources 25 percent of its energy from renewables, well ahead of Minnesota’s 2025 goal. fact by 2030, it anticipated reducing its carbon emissions by about 40 percent compared to a 2005 base level.
Minnesota Power is currently ahead of the the state’s goals, however, they could change. Earlier this year a bipartisan group of legislators introduced legislation that would bring the renewable energy requirement up to 50 percent renewables by 2030.Tweet