Minnesota Power announces clean energy transition plan


US utility Minnesota Power has announced its EnergyForward strategy, the company’s clean energy transition vision.

The announcement follows Minnesota Power achieving its target of producing 50% of electricity from renewables. The utility has the vision to deliver 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.

Minnesota plans to achieve coal-free operations at its facilities by 2035 and invest in a resilient and flexible transmission and distribution grid.

Measures the energy provider will deploy to achieve the 2035 goal will be laid out in the Integrated Resources Plan, set to be filed with the state regulator in February.

Minnesota Power has set a target to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035 compared to 2005 levels, meeting the state’s goal for greenhouse gas reductions 15 years ahead of schedule.

In the IRP, Minnesota Power will identify plans to increase its renewable energy supply to 70% by 2030. These steps include:

  • Adding an estimated 400 new megawatts of wind and solar energy;
  • Retiring Boswell Energy Center Unit 3 by 2030. (335MWs);
  • Transforming Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center Unit 4 (468MWs) to be coal-free by 2035;
  • Investing in a modern, flexible transmission and distribution grid.

The CEO of the parent company, ALLETE, Bethany Owen, said: “We are proud to be the first Minnesota utility to provide 50% renewable energy, but as we said when we reached this exciting milestone in December, our transformation to a sustainable energy future is not yet complete.

 “As a clean energy leader, we are meeting the challenge of climate change with a reliable energy supply while keeping costs affordable for customers in this region.”

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A final decision on the IRP is expected later in 2021.

In recent years, Minnesota Power has transformed its energy supply from more than a 95% reliance on coal to become a leader in the nation’s clean-energy transformation.

For example, since 2013, the company has closed or converted seven of its nine coal-fired units and added nearly 900 megawatts of renewable energy sources. Additionally, Minnesota Power has been taking the lead in energy conservation, surpassing the state’s conservation goals each year for the past decade.

“For Minnesota Power, this plan is about more than achieving the most significant sustainability goal in our long history – it is about becoming 100% carbon-free the right way,” Owen said.

“Our diverse customer base relies on us to continue to provide reliable and affordable energy. We also believe it is critically important that our transition to carbon-free energy takes into account the needs of our employees and the residents of communities that have hosted our generation plants. By embracing this vision, Minnesota Power and our employees will continue to support the quality of life that has made our residents, businesses and community organizations choose this region as their home,” Owen added.