- Renewable energy investments
- Sustained energy conservation programs
- Construction of a major transmission line to facilitate delivery of carbon free hydropower
- Investments to reduce emissions at existing facilities and improve efficiencies
- Fleet transition of small coal units
- Addition of natural gas resources
“Our plan builds on the tremendous progress we’ve made to achieve a more balanced and sustainable energy mix in a cost competitive manner,” Hodnik said. “Our North Dakota wind operations have more than tripled the amount of renewable energy on our system in a short time, moving our power supply from 5 percent renewable energy in 2005, to 20 percent this year.”As part of its Energy Forward plan, Minnesota Power will upgrade the largest hydroelectric system in the state, by increasing efficiencies at its Thomson and Fond du Lac hydroelectric stations. At the same time, the company will continue its leading-edge Power of One© conservation program which has exceeded state conservation goals by providing customers with tools to lower their energy usage. Reducing emissions and improving efficiencies through technology investments Minnesota Power plans to invest approximately $350 million in additional environmental upgrades at its largest electric generator, Boswell Energy Center Unit 4, to comply with the EPA Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS) and the Minnesota Mercury Emission Reduction Act, resulting in at least a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions. These upgrades, combined with other emission reduction investments made since 2006, will result in system-wide emission reductions of more than 85 percent by 2016. Boswell 4 in 2010 made major nitrogen oxide emission reductions and increased its operating efficiency with new turbine rotor investments. Fleet transition Over the last year, the company explored alternatives for its small coal units including retrofitting, refueling and retirement against the backdrop of environmental regulations and historically low natural gas prices. Careful consideration of power supply options led to the decision to refuel or remove from service one-third of its coal energy conversion units. These plans include:
- Investing $15 million to convert the company’s 110-megawatt (MW) Laskin Energy Center in Hoyt Lakes to a natural gas peaking facility in 2015, thereby transforming Laskin into the company’s first all-natural gas fueled facility.
- Retire one of three coal-fired units at Minnesota Power’s 225-MW Taconite Harbor facility in Schroeder while maintaining Units 1 and 2, which both comply with current and pending environmental regulations.
“The Laskin and Taconite Harbor facilities have provided reliable service and proven their value for customers over many decades, operated by talented and dedicated employees,” Hodnik said. “Like many employers in our region, Minnesota Power is experiencing a significant workforce transition now and for several years ahead,” Hodnik said. “Every effort will be made to redeploy skilled employees from affected facilities across our system, as Energy Forward evolves.”Natural gas additions As part of its Energy Forward plan, the company expects to add natural gas to its long-term power supply beyond the Laskin conversion to natural gas fuel. “We expect this next resource addition to occur sometime in 2020 or beyond,” Rudeck said. He said Minnesota Power’s energy mix in the future would consist of approximately one-third renewable energy, one-third natural gas and one- third coal-fired generation. “For more than a century, Minnesota Power has been called upon to make the critical decisions that power our region’s communities, businesses and industry reliably and economically,” Hodnik said. “We recognize our responsibility to this region’s security, comfort and quality of life and that commitment will continue under our Energy Forward plan.” Minnesota Power’s energy resource decisions and ongoing plans for fleet transition are subject to review and approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. As part of its Energy Forward plan, Minnesota Power will file its next Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on March 1. The MPUC is anticipated to make a decision on the IRP by year end. To learn more about Minnesota Power’s Energy Foward Plan click here to view an interview with ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO, Al Hodnik. Or visit our website at mnpower.com. Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc., supplies electric service to 144,000 residents, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.
The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.