Minnesota Power announced today that it will move ahead with plans to purchase 33 Siemens wind turbines, each designed to deliver 2.3 megawatts of power in proper conditions. The Duluth-based utility is currently seeking regulatory approvals to install the turbines as part of its Bison I Wind development near Center, N.D. Minnesota Power aims to put up 16 of the turbines next year and the remaining 17 in 2011.
To get a sense of scale consider the wing span of these machines. The rotor of each turbine boasts a 332-foot diameter — greater than the goal line-to-goal line length of a football field. The rotors will be mounted atop 262-foot tall towers.
When the $180 million project is completed in 2011, Bison I is expected to generate 300,000 megawatt-hours operating at full capacity. That’s enough electricity to power about 33,000 homes. That juice will be transported back to Minnesota Power’s customers in Minnesota via a direct current transmission line stretching from the Square Butte Substation in Center, N.D., to the Arrowhead Substation in Duluth.
"We are pleased to see critical pieces of our long-range plan to expand wind development in North Dakota coming together," said Don Shippar, Allete chairman, president and CEO, in a statement issued today. "This project plays a significant role in our ability to meet Minnesota’s 25 percent by 2025 renewable energy mandate in a timely and cost-effective manner that makes sense for our customers."