Xcel Energy has officially added the recently completed Border Wind Farm and Pleasant Valley Wind Farm to its large renewable energy portfolio. With the addition of these projects, the utility increases its wind capacity by 20% and more than doubles its ownership of wind generation.
The 150 MW Border project, located in Rolette County, N.D., features 75 wind turbines. Meanwhile, the 200 MW Pleasant Valley project, located near Austin, Minn., features 100 turbines. Both wind farms were developed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas.
‘Adding these two wind farms to our system is a significant step forward in our work to cut carbon emissions and shows our commitment to deliver 35 percent renewable energy to our Upper Midwest customers by 2030," states Chris Clark, regional president of Xcel Energy. "This clean energy also comes at a reasonable cost, at prices competitive with new natural gas generation."
According to Xcel Energy, the addition of the new wind projects' capacity played a role in the utility reaching a new record in wind generation. Recently, the company met 40% of customers' demand in the Upper Midwest with wind generation for the entire day.
"Records like this demonstrate that we can deliver the clean, carbon-free energy our customers want," comments Clark.
Xcel Energy says the wind farms also have given two local economies a boost: Border created 10 full-time jobs, employed 150 people during peak construction, and will generate $605,000 in local tax revenue. Pleasant Valley is expected to bring in $950,000 in local tax revenue, while producing 11 full-time jobs. It employed 250 workers during peak construction.
The two projects are part of Xcel Energy's plan to add 750 MW of wind energy to its Upper Midwest portfolio in the next two years. The company will also buy wind power from the Odell Wind Farm near Windom, Minn., which is expected to begin operations by mid-2016. Also, construction started on the Courtenay Wind Farm in North Dakota and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016.