Wind Turbine Shipment Makes Milestone in Twin Ports

Updated: 07/14/2014 6:18 PM
Created: 07/14/2014 4:02 PM

For nearly a decade, Minnesota Power and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority have been teaming up to bring wind turbines to the Northland. Another shipment of parts arrived on Monday marking a milestone in their efforts.

The Peter Rönna entered the Duluth Harbor with 12 cooling units and 14 gigantic generators for wind turbines being built in North Dakota. It was the 15th shipment in eight years as Minnesota Power rides the wind to clean energy.

“We're trying to bring all that together in a way that makes a lot of sense for our environment, for our customers,” Executive Vice President Dave McMillan said.

He said the parts will help finish 64 more turbines near Bismark by the end of the year. McMillan said that allow 25 percent of the company's energy to come from renewable sources. He said that is a decade head of a state requirement to increase renewable energy.

McMillan also said the United States has ground to cover to catch up with European renewable energy production, but investments like the Bison Wind Energy Center help out.

“If you look on absolute terms there is probably more renewable generation in Europe than there is here, but if you look at where we started and how quickly we've come along we're very proud of that. And I'm not making any apologies in terms of how quickly we're getting there,” McMillan said.

He said the shipments benefit more than just the environment.

“What's great is that we get to put all this local infrastructure and all the job creation that goes with trans-shipping assets of this size to work, and we're just thrilled to have a partner like the port,” McMillan said.

Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the energy boom in North Dakota is good for business. He said the partnership with Minnesota Power helps them show off the capabilities of the nearest international port.

“It's great that we have a partner within the community that recognizes it and understands it and helps promote that interaction with North Dakota,” Coda said.

The electricity generated in North Dakota travels over 450 miles to be used here in the Northland.

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