ALLETE CEO Tells Shareholders That Regional Economic Growth Requires an Affordable, Balanced Mix of Power Generation

  ALLETE CEO Tells Shareholders That Regional Economic Growth Requires an
  Affordable, Balanced Mix of Power Generation

Business Wire

DULUTH, Minn. -- May 14, 2013

With industrial demand for around-the-clock affordable electricity growing,
Minnesota Power is continuing on its strategic path to ensure that tomorrow’s
power generation mix is affordable, reliable and cleaner to meet customer
expectations and underpin a strong regional economy.

That message was delivered to an audience of about 700 people today at
ALLETE’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders by the company’s chairman, president
and CEO, Al Hodnik. Hodnik highlighted ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) utility division
Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward resource strategy in his remarks at the Duluth
Entertainment Convention Center.

“Our strategy is propelled forward by our significant progress to date,”
Hodnik said. “We have already moved from an energy supply that was five
percent renewable in 2005, to one that is 20 percent renewable today. We
continue to move EnergyForward with thoughtful and well-timed initiatives. Our
long-term goal is to produce electricity from a balance of one-third renewable
energy, one-third natural gas and one-third coal.”

As part of the regulatory framework, Hodnik explained, Minnesota Power is
obligated to weigh all power generation and conservation options, respond to a
rapidly changing policy landscape, and minimize environmental impacts while
guaranteeing delivery of cost-effective power to every customer.

“First and foremost, we have a responsibility to make careful energy choices
that protect affordability for our customers,” Hodnik said. “Our strategic
direction is toward a more diverse energy supply, and it is realistic about
the need to provide our industrial customers with base load energy 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. With EnergyForward, renewables and conservation will
be even more important resources in the future for customers, though no one
should expect that ALLETE will allow affordability and reliability to be
abandoned as we invest and reinvest in our generation supply.”

Reinvestment includes a major retrofit at Minnesota Power’s largest, newest
and highly efficient base load generating unit, Boswell 4. As part of
EnergyForward, Minnesota Power has already committed to the conversion of two
units at its Laskin Energy Center from coal to natural gas and the retirement
of a coal-fired unit at Taconite Harbor. These coal-fired unit reductions in
combination with other resource actions will result in Minnesota Power being
15 years ahead of meeting the state of Minnesota’s policy goal of 30 percent
carbon reduction by 2030, doing so in 2015. This major reduction is being
realized even as Minnesota Power’s customer load is growing substantially.

The Boswell 4 retrofit project, now awaiting approval from state regulators,
would reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent and further limit other emissions
at a cost of approximately $350 million. When complete, Boswell 4 will meet or
exceed all current and anticipated emission control regulations required by
the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators.

Hodnik also pointed to the company’s successfully completed Bison wind
generation expansion and its plan to increase base load renewable power
through a power purchase agreement with Manitoba Hydro. Minnesota Power has
begun stakeholder outreach and regulatory processes to build the transmission
required to deliver this hydropower to the region.

“The proposed Great Northern Transmission Line is a carbon-free energy
transportation solution that is North American in scope but global in impact,
and for Minnesota Power alone it will deliver enough carbon-free energy to
power 125,000 customer homes,” Hodnik said.

Company officials from Manitoba Hydro in attendance at today’s meeting echoed
their support for the project. “We value the partnership we’ve developed with
ALLETE and Minnesota Power,” said Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Scott
Thomson. “We’re proud to be taking the lead with them on a project large in
scope that positively affects our energy futures in Minnesota and Manitoba.”

Shareholders at today’s meeting saw a presentation highlighting recent
successful financial results. In the 12 months following last year’s meeting
on May 8, 2012, ALLETE’s stock price climbed from $40.05 to a high of $52.25
per share and the common stock dividend was increased by 3.3 percent.

“Our solid financial results signify that we’re on the right path both
operationally and strategically,” Hodnik said. “ALLETE is well positioned to
execute on its future growth initiatives.”

In other business at the ALLETE Annual Meeting, shareholders voted their
approval of 11 directors to serve for the coming year, approved an advisory
resolution on executive compensation and voted to increase the amount of stock
authorized for issuance under the company’s non-employee director stock plan.

ALLETE, Inc. is an energy company headquartered in Duluth, Minn. ALLETE’s
energy businesses include Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power Co.,
BNI Coal, and ALLETE Clean Energy. More information about the company is
available at www.allete.com.

The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make
orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and
uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents
filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact:

ALLETE, Inc.
Investor Contact:
Tim Thorp, 218-723-3953
tthorp@allete.com
or
Media Contact:
Amy Rutledge, 218-723-7400
arutledge@mnpower.com
 
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