- Minnesota Power has issued a request for proposals targeting 300 MW of wind energy, the first in a trio of RFPs that will focus on carbon-free energy sources along with demand response and distributed resources.
- The utility said its request supports its EnergyForward strategy, which calls for a more diverse power mix. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the company's integrated resource plan in June.
- Minnesota Power also said that over the next several weeks it will issue formal RFPs for up to 300 MW of utility-scale solar capacity, demand response and onsite generation resources.
Critics of Minesota Power's proposed IRP had initially called out the utility for not including more renewable resources, winning concessions that are now showing up in actual megawatts. The ALLETE subsidiary's RFP would push total wind energy on its system to 925 MW as it seeks maximum benefits under the federal production tax credit.
Through its EnergyForward plan, Minnesota Power said it "has been transforming its energy supply to a more balanced mix that relies less on coal and more on renewable energy sources while continuing to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electric service."
Minnesota’s renewable energy standard requires 25% of retail sales to come from renewable sources by 2025—a goal the utility points out it met a decade early. Last year, 26% of Minnesota Power's generation came from renewable energy.
There are two other RFPs waiting in the wings as well. Minnesota Power is preparing to issue requests for up to 300 MW of solar generation, and for demand response and customer self-generation. The utility said it "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's generation mix was once almost entirely coal, but the utility is making strides.
"Each year, our customers are served by electricity which comes from a more diverse set of clean power sources, and we are meeting our goals in a way that protects our customers, the communities we serve and the quality of life in our region," ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Alan Hodnik pointed out last year. However, the utility is still getting about three quarters of its power from coal generation, compared to the state average of less than 50%.