Duluth company converting power line to deliver wind energy

A Duluth-based power company has acquired a high-voltage power line and says it will use the line to deliver wind power.

Minnesota Power has purchased the 250-kilovolt power line from the Square Butte Electric Cooperative. It runs between Hermantown, Minn. and Center, N.D. Minnesota Power Spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said the line has until now provided the Duluth area coal-based electric power.

"We'll be phasing out coal-based electricity that is currently carried via the D.C. line, and that will be replaced entirely by wind energy over the next several years," Rutledge said. "It will afford us access to some of the best wind resources in the country, and provide us with the means to deliver more renewable energy to our customers."

Rutledge said the purchase will save Minnesota Power the cost of permitting and building a new power line. Minnesota Power is planning a 75-MW wind farm to generate power near New Salem, North Dakota.

The additional wind energy will help the company meet a state mandate that 25 percent of its power come from renewables by 2025.

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