Minnesota Power has announced it is seeking proposals for additional renewable energy from large-scale projects, as well as from customer-driven resources. The utility says the search is part of the company’s broad resource evaluation process to further its EnergyForward strategy, which calls for a diversified power supply to meet customers’ needs reliably and cost effectively in an environmentally responsible manner.
Through its EnergyForward strategy, Minnesota Power has been transforming its energy supply to a more balanced mix that relies less on coal and more on renewable energy sources. The company met Minnesota’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires 25% of retail sales to be generated by renewable energy by 2025, a decade early; by 2015, 26% of the utility’s retail and wholesale electric sales were from renewable energy sources.
In approving the utility’s integrated resource plan in June, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission asked the company to consider additional wind, solar and demand-side management alternatives as part of its ongoing resource evaluation process.
Now, Minnesota Power has released the first in a series of planned requests for proposals (RFPs). The initial RFP calls for power supply proposals for up to 300 MW of wind generation beyond the 625 MW of wind Minnesota Power already has on its system. This new wind power would be bought under a long-term power purchase agreement subject to regulatory approvals. Proposals are due by Sept. 7.
Over the next several weeks, Minnesota Power says it also will issue formal RFPs for solar generation and customer-driven resources.
The utility will be seeking proposals for up to 300 MW of utility-scale solar generation that qualifies under Minnesota’s Solar Energy Standard. The company says it wants to maximize the benefits of the extended federal investment tax credit for solar energy on behalf of its customers.
In addition, Minnesota Power will be seeking customer and utility-scale demand response and onsite generation resources to be considered for optimizing within its power supply portfolio.
Minnesota Power says it will consider the costs and characteristics of the proposals received and analyze whether they are beneficial resource additions for its customers.