Minnesota Power's Great Northern Transmission Line received federal approval today when the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Presidential Permit, clearing the way for building the international transmission line to deliver clean energy from Canada's extensive hydropower resources to Minnesota while strengthening reliability of the power grid. The Presidential Permit is the final major regulatory approval needed before construction can begin and is required because the transmission line will cross the international border between Manitoba and Minnesota and connect with Manitoba Hydro's Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project. The DOE, the federal agency responsible for issuing Presidential Permits for electric transmission lines, issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project in October 2015. The Presidential Permit approval is the final step in a four-year process that included comprehensive agency review and voluntary community engagement by Minnesota Power, a utility company of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE). "I would like to thank Congressman Rick Nolan, Congressman Collin Peterson, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and the Red Lake Nation for their strong support of the project and advocacy to the DOE," said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik. "These informed and active partners were key to reaching final federal approval of this clean energy milestone." "The Great Northern Transmission Line is a crucial link in Minnesota Power's EnergyForward strategy of balancing renewable and traditional energy sources. Minnesota Power already has exceeded Minnesota's 25 percent renewable standard, and is well-positioned to meet future decreased carbon emissions goals," Hodnik said. "DOE's issuance of this permit is the latest example of how we're answering the nation's call to transform its energy landscape, while growing ALLETE. Minnesota Power was forged from renewable hydropower 110 years ago, and that sustainable ethos lives on in this project that will deliver hundreds of megawatts of carbon-free hydropower to our customers."