Minnesota Power completed an emissions reduction project at the Boswell Energy Center to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent and to meet all state and federal regulations for sulfur dioxide emissions and particulates. Unit 4, capable of producing 585 MW, is Minnesota Power's largest coal-fired generating unit. Total cost of the Boswell project is about $260 million.
Minnesota Power completed commissioning the latest phase of its Bison Wind Energy Center. The 205-MW expansion makes it the largest wind farm in North Dakota. All 64 turbines within the 35-square-mile boundaries of Bison 4 are now generating renewable energy, which is delivered to the company's customers via a 465-mile direct current transmission line linking Center, N.D., and Duluth, Minn. In total, the nearly 500 MW produced by Bison's 165 turbines rank it as North Dakota's largest wind farm in terms of electric generating capacity.
Minnesota Power's Great Northern Transmission Line received another approval. FERC approved a facilities construction agreement required to build this 500-kV, 220-mile line that will run from the Canadian-U.S. border northwest of Roseau, Minn. to an expanded Blackberry electric substation east of Grand Rapids, Minn. The Great Northern Line, under development by Minnesota Power and the Manitoba Hydro subsidiary, has an anticipated in-service date of June 1, 2020.
Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, and the Minnesota National Guard signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to build a 10-MW utility-scale solar energy array at Camp Ripley, located in central Minnesota. The project will be the largest solar energy installation on military property in the state. The solar farm and backup generation will be designed and constructed to allow Camp Ripley to use the energy produced by the project during infrequent periods when the electric grid is down, providing enhanced energy security for the military site.
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE, reached a settlement agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that resolves alleged violations of the new source review provisions of the Clean Air Act. The agreement does not include any admission of wrongdoing on the part of the company Minnesota Power is one of many utility companies in the U.S. whose investments in electric generation facilities were reviewed as part of the EPA's Coal-Fired Power Plant Enforcement Initiative that began in 1999.
Siemens Energy was awarded an order by Minnesota Power for 64 units of the company's latest 3-MW D3 platform wind turbines to be installed at the Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem, North Dakota. The wind turbines feature a 113-meter rotor and 92.5-meter hub height and thus increased rating of 3.2 MW. Installation of the turbines is scheduled to begin in mid-June 2014, and commercial operation is slated for December 2014.
Distributed solar might be a game changer, but at what cost?
My friend Reggie recently asked me for advice about installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of his boathouse on the river. It has no electricity now, but he wants just enough PV to power a few lights, an automatic garage door opener, and the occasional power tool. I told Reggie the same thing I tell everybody who asks me about rooftop solar: it's exciting but still expensive. Then Reggie explained why I was wrong.