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Minnesota Power wins wind energy Project of the Year

Minnesota Power’s Bison wind energy centre near New Salem, North Dakota, was voted the best wind project of the year at the 2013 POWER-GEN International Conference and Exhibition awards in Florida.

“It’s gratifying to be honoured by your peers for conceiving and completing a world-class renewable energy project,” said Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE Inc, the parent company of Minnesota Power. “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, New York was the other finalist in the best wind project competition. The 229 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 honoured for phases 2 and 3 of the Bison Project, whose capacity of 292 MW includes 85 direct-drive Siemens 3MW turbines.  The 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.
Minnesota Power plans to start 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.

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