Minnesota Power, a division of US-based Allete, has commenced operations at its 292MW Bison Wind Energy Center in northern Minnesota.

The wind power facility employs 101 units of Siemens wind turbines and generates around 750,000MWh of clean electricity, which is enough to supply 85,000 homes annually.

Commenting on the development, Allete president, chairman and CEO Al Hodnik said that North Dakota is an energy powerhouse with an abundance of lignite, shale, and natural gas in addition to high-capacity wind power.

"Our half a billion dollar investment in wind development opens the door to future investments in this energy-rich and policy-friendly state, to the benefit of our customers and shareholders alike.

"As we commission Bison Energy Center and make other strategic resource and transmission investments, we are proud of our role in working to transform the nation’s energy landscape," added Hodnik.

According to the company, the electricity is transmitted along a 465-mile direct current transmission line Minnesota Power purchased in 2009.

Minnesota Power has enhanced its renewable energy capability partly in response to the state of Minnesota’s mandate that utilities produce 25% of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.

Meanwhile, the wind power from the Bison project has doubled the company’s percentage of renewable energy, further diversifying its supply portfolio.