Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Inc. is proposing a program that would allow its customers to get their electricity from 100-percent renewable sources.
The program, called Renewable*Connect, gives customers the option of choosing a mix of wind and solar energy. While available to all customers, Xcel’s program targets businesses with sustainability goals, allowing them to track their renewable energy use.
“Our customers want more options when it comes to energy use, and this new program will help them meet their sustainability goals,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “Renewable*Connect will give customers a new choice for wind and solar energy, flexible terms and no up-front costs.”
Xcel expects to offer the program will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis but will eventually expand the program as new wind and solar projects come online.
Xcel already offers a 100-percent wind energy program, called Windsource, which the utility says generated 173,000 megawatt-hours of sales in 2014, and a developing solar program, which Clark says is expected to be among the largest in the nation.
As reported in the StarTribune, Xcel plans to set aside 75 MW from planned projects, including the Odell Wind Farm and the North Star Solar project, both of which are expected to be operational in 2017.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission must still approve the program, a process expected to take about a year, but Xcel expects its customers to begin signing up for Renewable Connect in 2017. Contracts are month-to-month, five or 10 years.