Duluth-based ALLETE Clean Energy announced today plans to repower and expand the Northern Wind site, consisting of the Chanarambie and Viking wind projects in southwest Minnesota, by replacing the existing turbines with new, more efficient equipment. When repowered in 2022, the project, totaling 120 megawatts of capacity, will be sold to Xcel Energy. 

The wind repowering project was spurred by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s request for projects that could help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession by putting people to work and increasing the amount of renewable energy customers receive, while also reducing costs over the life of the project. Installing new wind turbines at existing wind sites can increase electricity production by more than 10%, saving customers money over the next 25 years. 

Adding new wind energy and repowering older wind sites will help Xcel Energy deliver on its plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, in pursuit of the company’s vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. 

“We’re proud to provide this valuable clean-energy solution for Xcel Energy and its customers,” said ALLETE Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr. “This project is the latest example of our strategy in action to advance sustainable energy solutions while investing in local communities. It is a four-part winner that will deliver more clean energy to decarbonize the nation’s energy supply, contribute to more affordable electric rates for customers, and spur local employment and economic activity, all while providing an opportunity to reallocate capital into exciting, new and complementary clean energy growth opportunities.” 

“Xcel Energy is leading the clean energy transition while also developing projects that will help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Repowering older wind sites with new technology will save customers money, create more renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and move us closer to achieving our vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to our customers.” 

ALLETE Clean Energy also recently completed a refurbishment project to improve performance and reliability at the nearby Lake Benton I wind site in southwest Minnesota, which sells energy to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement.