Xcel Energy achieved a milestone at 3 a.m. on April 27, when wind power met 46% of customers' electricity needs in the company's Upper Midwest service territory.
When the record was set, wind resources provided 1,622 MW of the 3,512 MW Xcel Energy's customers were using in Minnesota and neighboring states. The previous record was set in April 2013, when wind generation met 42% of customer demand.
‘Wind energy brings great value to our customers as a cost-effective and clean resource," says Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. "As we've added more wind power, we've learned a lot about how to reliably and safely integrate wind energy onto our system. And by using state-of-the-art wind forecasting tools, we have saved Upper Midwest customers more than $15 million in fuel costs since 2009."
Xcel Energy, recently named the U.S.' top utility provider of wind power for the 10th consecutive year, is currently adding 750 MW of wind resources in its Upper Midwest territory. Minnesota regulators have approved four wind projects, representing a 42% increase in the company's wind power capacity in the Upper Midwest. The projects – two in Minnesota and two in North Dakota – are scheduled to be in service by the end of 2015.Â
"These cost-competitive projects will save customers more than $225 million and provide a valuable hedge to volatile fuel prices," says Sparby. "Our diverse mix of cleaner technologies helps us keep costs lower over time, improve our environmental performance and provide safe, reliable service for customers."
Wind generation produces 12% of the energy used by Xcel Energy's Upper Midwest customers. Along with the wind additions coming online by the end of 2015, the company says it is well on its way to generating 25% of its energy from wind resources by 2020, as required by Minnesota law.