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New batch of wind farm equipment brings Minnesota Power to milestone

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A ship bearing parts for a wind farm expansion sailed into Duluth Monday – pushing a Minnesota utility past its state-mandated renewable energy milestone more than decade before the deadline.

Northland's News Center reports officials with both the Duluth Port and Minnesota Power celebrated the milestone marked by the arrival of the cargo ship Peter Roenna.

The parts will allow for a 205-megawatt addition to the Bison Wind Energy Center near Bismark, North Dakota. Once the new turbines are operating at that wind farm, Minnesota Power will be generating 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Lawmakers set 2025 as the year by which power companies are required to reach that threshold.

While the parts are heading to North Dakota, Minnesota Power Executive Vice-President Dave McMillan tells Northland's News Center the energy produced at the wind farm comes right back to Minnesota.

"All of the output of the Bison Wind Farms is transported electrically over the direct current line that we purchased in 2009 and comes right into a substation outside of Duluth here," a smiling McMillan told the station.

WDIO reports the Peter Roenna carried 12 cooling units and 14 generators that will be used with new turbines being built near the wind farm.

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The Duluth Port issued a statement noting that Monday's arrival marked the 15th ship carrying wind energy cargo into Duluth, all within the last eight years. Port officials say two more shipments are expected before the end of September.

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