January 7, 2019 Read More →

Customer demand driving growth of utility clean energy spin-off, executive says

Duluth News Tribune:

Allete Clean Energy is growing.

Standing in front of a TV in the lobby of the company’s Downtown Duluth headquarters, Allete Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr. pointed on a map to the six operational wind farms acquired since 2011. With turbines already spinning in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania, projects in North Dakota and Montana will be added to that map as they come online in 2019.

The company, founded by its parent company Allete in 2011, has expanded so dramatically, in part, because of a rising demand for emission-free, renewable energy. “The customer wants clean energy,” Rudeck said

It helps that the cost of wind energy continues to fall too. According to the Department of Energy’s 2017 Wind Market Reports, wind turbines are becoming larger and more powerful while technology costs continue to decrease. A report in November by investment firm Lazard said energy from wind farms is cheaper than energy from traditional coal plants.

With those factors working in its favor, the company has grown from four to 82 employees in under eight years, and can currently provide 540 megawatts of wind generation to its customers but expects that to jump to 720 megawatts when its next two wind farms are operational later this year.

The company’s business model combines buying, then refurbishing, existing wind farms while selling power to other companies; building and operating new wind farms, selling the power to other companies; and building new wind farms that will then, as a whole, be sold to another company.

More: As demand for wind grows, so does Duluth-based Allete Clean Energy

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