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Minnesota Power outlines a more balanced energy roadmap

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Minnesota Power is taking next steps in its energy resource strategy, building upon their portfolio of renewable energy investments and diversifying further their generation mix.

As a "roadmap to a cleaner energy future," Minnesota's EnergyForward resource strategy consists of renewable energy investments; sustained energy conservation programs; construction of a major transmission line to facilitate delivery of carbon free hydropower; investments to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies at existing facilities; fleet transition of small coal units; and the addition of natural gas resources.

Minnesota Power will strengthen its renewable resources through a power purchase agreement with Manitoba Hydro for 250 MW of hydropower beginning in 2020, as well as upgrade the largest hydroelectric system in the state by increasing efficiencies at its Thomson and Fond du Lac hydroelectric stations.

Minnesota Power plans to invest approximately $350 million in environmental upgrades at its largest electric generator that would result in at least a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions. These upgrades, combined with other emission reduction investments made since 2006, will result in system-wide emission reductions of more than 85 percent by 2016.

"[Today's] resource decisions are the result of changing energy policy, technology developments, economic factors and input from many stakeholder groups, and our own commitment toward a competitive, environmentally compliant, socially responsible regional power supply," said Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE, Minnesota Power's parent company.

Ultimately, Minnesota Power's energy mix will essentially consist of one-third renewable energy, one-third natural gas, and one- third coal-fired generation.

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