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Allete President and CEO Alan Hodnik

Allete's new president will lead environmental efforts

Allete CEO, chairman and president Don Shippar relinquished one of his three titles Tuesday.

Alan Hodnik, 49, has been appointed to succeed him as president of Allete, Minnesota Power's Duluth-based parent company.

Hodnik has been with Minnesota Power since 1978, most recently serving as the company's chief operating officer.

Shippar, 60, said Hodnik will oversee many of Allete's day-to-day operations. He said Hodnik also will lead the company's efforts to comply with new environmental standards and a state mandate that the utility generate 25 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2025.

"I'm pleased to report we're nearly half-way there today," Shippar said of the renewable energy goal.

In 2008, about 11 percent of the 10 million megawatt-hours of electricity Minnesota Power produced came from renewable energy sources.

Minnesota Power recently announced plans to bring another 75 megawatts of wind power online in North Dakota, with half that capacity becoming available by 2010 and the remainder available by 2011.

Shippar said Hodnik also will be assigned to help the company develop a strategy for how best to navigate the shifting landscape of greenhouse gas regulations, including the possible development of a cap-and-trade system of energy credits.

"We're dealing with transformative times in the energy sector," said Hodnik, noting that new restrictions on carbon emissions are certainly in the works.

In light of emerging restrictions, Shippar said Minnesota Power has no plans to bring any more coal-powered generation online. Instead, as the company works to meet anticipated growth in demand, Shippar said the company probably will lean harder on wind power, hydrogenerated power purchased from Manitoba and perhaps natural gas-fueled peaking units to fill in any gaps.

Hodnik pointed out that Minnesota Power has a track record of meeting new challenges and expressed optimism that the company can balance new regulations with customers' needs for competitively priced electricity.

"We have a tremendously talented group of employees, and with that talent, I'm confident we can address this issue and come out stronger," he said. "People make all the difference."