ALLETE provides light to the northern climes. Most of its business is classified within its regulated operations, which include electric, gas, and water utilities located in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Those operations are conducted through subsidiaries Minnesota Power (about 146,000 customers) and Superior Water, Light and Power (37,000 electric, gas, and water customers). ALLETE's other segment includes coal mining operations, emerging technologies related to electric utilities, and a real estate business (large land tracts in Florida). Subsidiary BNI Coal operates a mine in North Dakota that supplies, primarily, two generating co-ops, Minnkota Power and Square Butte.
To meet the growing demand for electricity and Minnesota's carbon emission regulations, the company anticipates adding up to 500 MW of renewable energy capacity (primarily through building hydropower and wind facilities) by 2025. It also plans to increase the use of biomass as a cleaner-burning fuel at its fossil-fueled plants.
In 2010 industrial customers accounted for more than half of ALLETE's regulated utility sales in term of the volume of power consumed. Those customers include coal mining operations, paper and wood products companies, and pipeline operators.
Higher rates charged to retail users, a recovering economy spurring higher power consumption by industries, and higher transmission prices helped the company to post major jump in revenues and net income in 2010. The company's non-regulated operator reported lower revenues, primarily due to a $4.8 million decrease resulting from the transfer of a small generating facility to the Regulated Operations segment in 2009.
Chairman and CEO Don Shippar stepped down from his executive position in 2010 and was replaced by president Alan Hodnik. Company veteran Shippar remained as chairman of the company's board of directors. – less