Xcel Announces 60-Percent Expansion in Wind Power


Xcel Energy, one of the nation’s leading wind power providers, said Thursday it plans to boost its wind power capacity by a whopping 60 percent.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company wants to build about 1,500 MW of wind power and is seeking proposals from developers and construction firms to build up to 10 wind farms in the Upper Midwest. The projects would be built in time to benefit from the federal production tax credit for wind. The 2.3-cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit will begin decreasing next year and will ultimately be phased out by 2020.

In a press release, the utility said it plans to double the amount of power it gets from renewable resources in the next 15 years, claiming 63 percent of its power will be produced with carbon-free resources by that time.

“We’re pursuing proposals now to take full advantage of low wind prices which means we can expand our wind energy portfolio at an extremely competitive cost,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota.

Pointing to the company’s “sophisticated” wind forecasting technology, Clark said Xcel will be able to add more wind power supplies without impacting the reliability of its system.

The company’s request for proposals (RFP) requires bidder to submit a response by Oct. 25.

RFP details include:

·         Projects must interconnect to Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan

·         Projects must be at least 75 MW

·         Bidders are responsible for all transmission interconnection and system upgrades required by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

·         Xcel Energy expects to file for regulatory approval of selected projects in spring 2017

For several years, Xcel has been ranked as the No.1 wind power-producing utility in the U.S. by the American Wind Energy Association. 

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