Minnesota Power said Aug. 1 that it expects to start construction later this year on a 200-MW expansion of its Bison Wind project in North Dakota.
Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE), has called the Bison 4 project crucial to meeting Minnesota’s 25% renewable energy standard by 2025.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission is expected to hold a hearing on the proposed site certificate for the facility later this month. The company intends to submit a request to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for project approval and cost recovery through a renewable energy rider on customer bills.
Estimated to cost approximately $345m, Bison 4 will be constructed in Oliver County, N.D., north and west of the project’s first three phases currently in operation. The expansion will include a new substation and approximately 11 miles of a 230-kV transmission line.
The project will be the single largest wind addition to the company’s fleet.
Bison 4 will increase the company’s wind portfolio by more than 50% to more than 600 MW of wind generation. Construction on phase 4 of the Bison Wind Energy Center, anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter this year, will add 64 more wind turbines to the 101 turbines Minnesota Power has installed since 2010 near New Salem, N.D.
Estimated to be operational by the end of 2014, the project will generate enough energy to power 92,000 homes.
“Expanding Bison will add to our renewable energy supply, resulting in the lowest cost resource over time by capturing the benefits of the extended production tax credit and a competitive turbine market, while executing ALLETE’s growth strategy,” said Alliant Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik.