Duluth, Minn. (Dec. 22, 2020) — (BUSINESS WIRE) ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE), announced today the start of commercial operations at its Diamond Spring wind site in southern Oklahoma.
The output from the 303-megawatt Diamond Spring site is contracted to provide renewable energy to Walmart, Smithfield Foods and Starbucks though separate renewable energy sales agreements with 12-15 year terms.
Diamond Spring is ALLETE Clean Energy’s largest wind site, producing enough energy to power about 114,000 homes and increasing the company’s total wind capacity to more than 1,000 megawatts.
“Diamond Spring will help our customers achieve their climate-action goals and bring more renewable energy onto the nation’s power grid,” said ALLETE Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr. “I’m extremely proud of our team for developing our largest wind site and bringing it to commercial operation on schedule during a global pandemic. We intend to continue to build on our strong reputation for delivering timely, responsible and cost-effective renewable solutions. ALLETE Clean Energy will continue to innovate and drive new growth opportunities in the clean-energy sector.”
“Meaningful and lasting actions to address climate change by utilities, cities, and corporate and industrial customers are an important part of ALLETE’s sustainability in action strategy and provide an exciting market for ALLETE Clean Energy as companies embrace sustainability goals,” said ALLETE President and CEO Bethany Owen.
Smithfield Foods, a $16 billion global food and agriculture company, announced a goal in 2016 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain 25 percent by 2025. Earlier this year, the company furthered its commitment to emissions reduction by announcing it will become carbon negative across its company-owned operations in the United States by 2030.
“Smithfield Foods has an ambitious carbon reduction program aimed at making a real, positive impact on the climate and generating value for multiple stakeholders,” said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables for Smithfield Foods. “With the completion of the Diamond Spring project, the wind energy generated from this site will account for what is needed to power more than 15 percent of our total U.S. operations, marking a significant step forward in achieving our goals.”
ALLETE Clean Energy’s strategic purchase of wind turbines that qualify for the safe harbor provision of federal production tax credits enables Diamond Spring’s low energy costs. In addition to turbines installed at Diamond Spring, ALLETE Clean Energy retains more safe harbor turbines for additional wind site development.
With Diamond Spring online, ALLETE Clean Energy has turned its attention to developing the Caddo wind site in central Oklahoma. The 303-megawatt Caddo site is fully contracted to three corporate customers, of which 200 megawatts is contracted to McDonald’s Corp., increasing ALLETE Clean Energy’s share of the corporate and industrial clean-energy market. The project is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.