ALLETE Clean Energy has received the 45th set of new wind turbine blades from international blade manufacturer Tecsis for its refurbishment initiative at Storm Lake and Lake Benton wind facilities in Iowa and Minnesota.

The wholly owned division of ALLETE Inc. announced an $80 million project in August 2017 that includes replacing select blades, gearboxes and generators on turbines at the Lake Benton wind site in Lincoln County, Minnesota, and the Storm Lake I and II wind sites in Buena Vista and Cherokee counties, Iowa. The project will improve turbine performance and reliability, generate federal production tax credits at each site and support the renewal of power sale agreements at the Storm Lake sites. Tecsis will provide more than 300 blades, using the latest design and manufacturing technology to drive improved wind turbine generator performance.

“Tecsis provided a cost-effective, turnkey solution that has exceeded our expectations” Bill Sawyer,general manager – operations at ALLETE Clean Energy, said in a news release. “Tecsis has  demonstrated its ability to design,manufacture and deliver blades and manage the project that will position Storm Lake and Lake Benton to continue safe, reliable and increasingly efficient clean energy production for years to come.”

The refurbishment is being staged from 2017 through 2020 to minimize turbine downtime and maximize safe energy production at each site. In total, the sites produce about 700,000 megawatt hours of energy per year, representing about 50 percent of ALLETE Clean Energy’s current electricity sales.

Energy from the Lake Benton site is fully contracted through 2028, and approximately 8 megawatts of Storm Lake I production is contracted through 2032. Alliant recently extended its contract from Storm Lake II through mid-2020. ALLETE Clean Energy is working to recontract the balance of the Storm Lake I power sales agreements that expire in late 2019.

“ALLETE Clean Energy is consistently building shareholder value as it executes a thoughtful growth strategy,” said Allan S. Rudeck Jr, ALLETE Clean Energy president. “Maintaining and enhancing the Lake Benton and Storm Lake sites, along with extending power sales agreements, provide a cost-effective platform to sustain and grow the clean energy American businesses and citizens increasingly expect. Our partnership with Tecsis has been a winning formula, and their wind turbine blade expertise and knowledge brings great value to us and, ultimately, to our customers.”