Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) submitted three proposed wind power projects to state regulators that would increase the company’s wind power portfolio by 600 MW. The added capacity would be a 33 percent increase in the company’s wind power generation in the Upper Midwest.
The three proposed projects, each with a capacity of 200 MW, were submitted in a request for proposals issued by Xcel in February. The projects selected are the Courtenay Wind Farm, near Jamestown, N.D.; the Odell Wind Farm, near Windom, Minn.; and Pleasant Valley, near Austin, Minn. Courtenay and Odell would operate under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy, while RES America Developments Inc. would develop Pleasant Valley and transfer ownership to Xcel.
Pleasant Valley is planned to be adjacent to the Grand Meadow wind project, which is owned by Xcel.
According to Xcel, the three projects would lower customer costs by $180 million over the lives of the projects. President and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota Dave Sparby said wind prices currently offer lower costs than other possible resources, including natural gas. Northern States Power is an Xcel company.
The projects were submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the North Dakota Public Service Commission, and the company also notified regulators in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The company also stated it would continue to evaluate projects and could make additional proposals if similar benefits can be achieved.
The three projects would begin construction immediately if approved by regulators in order to qualify for the production tax credit and would be in service by the beginning of 2016.
Xcel has made two other wind acquisition proposals in recent weeks, with its operating companies in the Colorado and Texas-New Mexico service territories requesting wind project proposals earlier this year.
Xcel currently has 1,800 MW of wind power on its system in the Upper Midwest. The company was recently ranked the leading provider of wind energy in the U.S. for the ninth consecutive year by the American Wind Energy Association.
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