Minnesota Power ‘s power line adds wind capacity

Posted on May 14, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

From a story by Peter Passi in the Duluth News Tribune:

Minnesota Power on Tuesday announced plans to acquire a direct-current transmission line for about $80 million and use it to transport additional wind-generated electricity from North Dakota to its Northland customers.

The line belongs to Square Butte Electric Cooperative, and Minnesota Power aims to complete its purchase in 2009.

The direct-current line currently transports electricity from the coal-fired Milton R. Young Generating Station in Center, N.D., to Minnesota Power’s distribution network, 465 miles east. But Minnesota Power intends to reduce its reliance on coal power and use the line instead to carry electricity from North Dakota wind farms.

Don Shippar, CEO of Allete, Minnesota Power’s parent corporation, said the DC line was built three decades ago to help supply low-cost, coal-generated electricity to the Iron Range’s growing taconite industry. Direct-current lines offer a more economical and efficient means of transporting power long distances than traditional alternating-current lines.

Shippar said the line “has the potential to become a wind power superhighway.”

Within the next decade, Minnesota Power expects to help develop another 500 to 700 megawatts of North Dakota wind power and move it to the Northland via the newly acquired line. . . .


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