The turbine refurbishment project follows ALLETE Clean Energy's December 2016 $100 million investment in wind turbine components that meet the standards for the production tax credit "safe harbor" provision. The investment in safe harbor turbines allows ALLETE Clean Energy to pursue a three-pronged production tax credit strategy before the 2020 federal production tax credit phase-out. The strategy includes building and operating new wind farms based on long-term power sale agreements, building wind farms for other companies for a development fee, and refurbishing its existing wind farms while extending power sale agreements.As part of that strategy, ALLETE Clean Energy announced in March its plan to build, own and operate a 100-megawatt wind farm in Morton and Mercer counties in North Dakota that will supply electricity to Xcel Energy under a signed 20-year power sale agreement. Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and be complete in 2019. The company also announced an agreement with Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) in January to expand the Thunder Spirit wind farm in Hettinger, North Dakota. MDU signed a 25-year power sale agreement with ALLETE Clean Energy to purchase energy from the expansion. Under the agreement, MDU also has an option to buy as it did with the first phase of Thunder Spirit. ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik said ALLETE Clean Energy has grown to be the company's second-largest source of net income, and is helping ALLETE do its part to answer the call to transform the nation's energy and water landscape. "ALLETE Clean Energy is consistently building shareholder value as it executes a thoughtful growth strategy," Hodnik said. "Maintaining and enhancing the Lake Benton and Storm Lake sites, along with extending power sales agreements, provide a cost-effective platform for the strategy that is already bearing fruit as the safe harbor turbines connect ALLETE Clean Energy with new industry partners nationwide."
ALLETE Clean Energy was established in 2011 to acquire or develop capital projects to create energy solutions by way of wind, solar, biomass, hydro, natural gas, shale resources, clean coal technology and other emerging innovations.ALLETE Inc. is an energy company with headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth; BNI Energy in Bismarck, North Dakota; U.S. Water Services in St. Michael, Minnesota; and has an 8 percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. More information about ALLETE is available at www.allete.com. ALE-CORP 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. 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.