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Minnesota Power to buy more electricity in Manitoba

DULUTH -- Minnesota Power officials plan to secure two agreements to buy electricity from Manitoba Hydro.

Included are an initial surplus energy purchase to begin this year and a 15-year deal to obtain 250 megawatts beginning in about 2020, the Duluth-based company said in a news release.

The long-term sale will require construction of hydroelectric facilities in northern Manitoba and major new transmission facilities between Canada and the United States. Minnesota Power, a division of Allete Inc., and Manitoba Hydro each has one year to complete negotiations and sign definitive agreements. They would be subject to the approval of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

"We are pleased to cooperate with our neighbor and long-term utility partner to secure this clean, carbon-free energy resource for our customers," Don Shippar, Allete Inc. chairman, president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. "As new industrial projects are proposed in our region, Minnesota Power will continue to deliver innovative ways to meet the associated energy needs."

"Manitoba Hydro is proceeding with plans for the development of new large hydroelectric projects in northern Manitoba," said Manitoba Hydro president and Chief Executive Bob Brennan. "Another benefit to both parties is the additional transmission capacity between the two utilities. These projects and the associated power sales will be good for the environment, good for the northern First Nation communities and good for rate payers both in Minnesota and Manitoba."