An advisory board with representation from Xcel Energy, Xcel's customers, environmental groups and the Prairie Island Indian Community has recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that about $8.2 million be awarded to projects for energy production, and $14.4 million for research and development from Xcel's renewable development fund.
Nearly 100 renewable energy proposals were reviewed during the current funding cycle. Currently, more than 23 MW of renewable energy are under development from fund initiatives.
Research and development projects include testing of a high-resolution virtual wind simulator for accurate prediction of local winds and turbulence with the purpose of optimizing the turbine-siting design of wind projects. The University of Minnesota, in sponsorship with Prairie Island Indian Community, received $1 million for this project.
Xcel Energy received $1 million to test the hypothesis that battery storage technology will enable effective storage of wind energy, and therefore enable "firming" of wind energy to reduce impact from the variability and limited predictability of wind generation resources.