The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today unanimously approved Minnesota Power’s 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), the regulatory roadmap for the company’s EnergyForward vision to provide 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 while maintaining safe, reliable and affordable electric serve to its customers.
Building on an extensive process that involved discussion with customers and stakeholders over the past two years, Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc. (NYSE:ALE), reached a joint agreement earlier this week with stakeholders that included clean energy organizations, labor groups, and the city of Cohasset and Itasca County, which are host communities to the company’s last remaining coal-fired power plant. The Commission approved all of the elements of the joint agreement.
“In early 2021, Minnesota Power set forth its vision for a carbon-free energy supply by 2050, and today’s decision by the Commission affirmed Minnesota Power’s state-leading efforts to shape a clean-energy future that benefits our customers, our communities, and the climate, while ensuring time to transition our employees,” said ALLETE Chair, President and CEO Bethany Owen. “Bringing all of these important stakeholders together has been a hallmark of Minnesota Power’s extensive process and is critical to a truly just transition that leaves no one behind. We’re grateful for the Commission’s approval and excited to get to work on this next phase of our collaborative and innovative energy transformation.”
Minnesota Power’s IRP lays out ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2035, and achieving more than 70% renewable energy in 2030. It calls for adding up to 400 megawatts of wind energy and 300 megawatts of regional solar energy. That’s nearly twice what the company proposed in its initial Integrated Resource Plan filing in Feb. 2021, which called for the addition of 200 megawatts of wind and 200 megawatts of solar. The IRP also includes a significant investment in energy storage to support the expansion of renewables on Minnesota Power’s system.
The IRP also charts a course to cease coal operations at the company’s Boswell Energy Center Unit 3 by 2030 and Boswell Unit 4 by 2035.
“Today’s outcome confirms MP’s thoughtful pace and path for transforming our fleet and reducing carbon, while keeping affordability, as well as reliability and resiliency of our system at the fore and maintaining a just transition for our employees and host communities,” said Minnesota Power Chief Operating Josh Skelton. “Our planning for a sustainable transformation has incorporated feedback from many diverse voices, while recognizing the rapid changes of an energy industry in transformation. We will leverage the opportunities now available with the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that support lowering the cost of renewables and maintaining competitive rates for our customers.”
Additional consideration of other resource investments, including a previously approved natural gas power plant, and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s long-range transmission plan to strengthen the electric grid, will occur in future regulatory filings. Also approved today, the company will file its next IRP by March 1, 2025.
Minnesota Power submitted its 1,427-page IRP to the MPUC on Feb. 1, 2021 after a first of its kind stakeholder outreach process. An IRP is required of all investor-owned utilities, generation-and-transmission cooperatives and municipal power agencies. An IRP outlines how the company will meet the expected energy needs of its customers over the next 15 years with a safe, reliable and cost-effective supply of energy, and is an important tool for regulators who implement Minnesota’s energy policy.
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 145,000 customers, 14 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States. More information can be found at www.mnpower.com. ALE-CORP
The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Director - Corporate Communications