Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., is advancing its EnergyForward plan by significantly increasing the amount of renewable energy it provides over the next 15 years, based on an agreement reached with stakeholder groups.
In a letter filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission as part of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proceedings, Minnesota Power said it will seek up to 400 MW of wind energy and 300 MW of regional solar energy. That’s nearly double what the company proposed in its initial Integrated Resource Plan filing, which called for the company to add 200 MW of wind and 200 MW of solar as part of its EnergyForward blueprint for achieving 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.
“Before and during the state’s IRP process, we have prioritized listening and taking feedback from customers, communities and organizations that will benefit from our clean energy transition for all,” says Minnesota Power COO Josh Skelton. “We are pleased that we could work with these stakeholders to reach an agreement that allows us to continue on our path to a carbon-free supply while also protecting safe and reliable energy at competitive rates.”
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will consider the next steps in Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward plan as it holds two hearings to discuss the details of the company’s IRP. The commission is expected to vote on the IRP on Nov. 22, including the agreement reached on increasing renewables.
If approved, under the agreement Minnesota Power will advance storage projects that support investment in its renewable portfolio and continue to evaluate the transition of Boswell Energy Center (Boswell Unit 3 will cease coal operations by 2030). Other resource considerations, including electric grid strengthening proposals such as the MISO Long-Range Transmission Plan and a previously approved natural gas power plant, have been deferred until future regulatory filings.
“Our planning for a sustainable transformation requires a flexible and dynamic approach. Since the filing of our IRP in February 2021, there have been many exciting developments, including the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, that support lowering the cost of renewables,” Skelton adds.
“Minnesota Power has been proactive and responsive with our commitment to climate, customers and our communities that is driving our national leadership to achieve a carbon-free supply of energy,” concludes Skelton. “Our EnergyForward plan being considered by the Commission this month accomplishes these goals in a way that reflects what is realistic today and what is possible tomorrow as we meet our goal of providing safe, reliable and affordable power to all customers.”