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Minn. regulators approve 260-MW wind project, contract with Minnesota Power

Minnesota regulators have approved construction of a 260-MW wind farm, along with a power purchase agreement for Minnesota Power Inc. to get wind energy and capacity from the project.

During a Dec. 20 meeting, the Public Utilities Commission voted to approve Tenaska Energy Inc.'s Nobles 2 Power Partners Wind Farm, to be built in Nobles County, Minn., in the southwestern part of the state. Approval came in the form of granting both a certificate of need and site permit for the project. The commission separately agreed to a request from Minnesota Power, which is an ALLETE Inc. subsidiary, to approve a 20-year purchase of 250 MW of wind-generated energy and capacity from the project.

The power purchase agreement is part of Minnesota Power's EnergyForward package, which calls for adding 510 MW of wind, solar and natural gas-fired power capacity. The commission in October approved the utility's investment in about half of the proposed 525-MW to 550-MW natural gas-fired Nemadji Trail Energy Center, to be built in neighboring Wisconsin.

Nobles 2 Power Partners, a Tenaska subsidiary that will operate the wind farm, expects the project to be in service as early as the third or fourth quarter of 2019.