A year ago, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Minnesota Power’s 15-year integrated resource plan (IRP), which calls for 100% renewable energy by 2050 with 300 MW of solar generation the next five years.
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., is advancing its vision for renewables, called EnergyForward, by issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 300 MW of regional solar energy to come online by 2027. Adding 300 MW of solar through this RFP will increase Minnesota Power’s current solar portfolio by tenfold.
The utility is seeking cost-effective solar resources that are within its service territory with direct interconnections to the company’s transmission system. Minnesota Power provides electric services to more than 145,000 customers in a 260,000 square mile territory in northeast Minnesota from north of St. Cloud to International Falls and Duluth to the east.
Minnesota Power will give preference to projects in communities that have generation resources impacted by the company’s decarbonization plans. It is also seeking diverse bidders and will give preference to projects that use union labor and local labor for both construction and permanent positions. It is also seeking companies that will develop apprenticeship programs.
“As we demonstrated with our three recent regional solar projects, this RFP reflects our commitment to creating opportunities for our communities during the clean-energy transformation,” said Minnesota Power chief operating officer Josh Skelton. “We’re seeking projects that will create local construction jobs and tax base in communities, train people for the future and generate renewable energy for our customers.”
Minnesota Power will consider multiple power supply options, including build-own-transfer and power purchase agreement projects along with self-build projects.
Minnesota is experiencing rapid solar buildout. Ranked 34th in solar capacity last year, it jumped to 17th, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) statewide solar rankings. The state generates 4.05% of its electricity from solar with 1.8 GW currently installed.
Minnesota Power will hold a webinar on Tuesday, November 28, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST to answer questions regarding the RFP. Click here to sign up for the webinar. Proposals will be accepted through Jan. 5, 2024. Click here to learn more or to file a proposal.
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