Minneapolis-based electricity and natural gas company Xcel Energy is now seeking proposals to significantly grow its wind energy portfolio by adding enough new wind farms to power more than 750,000 homes, bringing up to 1,500 MW of new wind power to Xcel Energy customers.
According to the company, this request for proposals (RFP) announcement is another step in its long-term plan to transform its energy fleet and represents one of the largest wind energy proposals in the nation.
“This is an exciting day for Xcel Energy and our customers as we build our energy future. We’re already the nation’s leading utility wind energy provider, but today, we take another major step to transform our energy fleet to cleaner, more renewable energy sources; reduce our carbon footprint; and do so at an affordable cost,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota.
This move is notable in that the game for utility RFPs has slowed over the past few years. Corporate purchasers of wind, including IKEA, Whirlpool and Google, have dominated industry headlines as of late.
Xcel Energy says it is issuing this RFP now to take full advantage of great wind pricing supported by federal tax credits available for construction of new wind projects. The additional wind energy is part of the company’s plan to more than double its renewable energy portfolio and deliver 63% of its energy from carbon-free resources in the next 15 years.
“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,” Clark added.
As noted, proposals can be a mix of power purchase agreements and projects purchased from developers.
Xcel Energy lists the following required details for the proposals:
- 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.; and
- Xcel Energy expects to file for regulatory approval of selected projects in spring 2017.
Xcel Energy says it will evaluate proposals submitted and bring forward proposed plans for regulatory review and approval.
Further, the company plans to move away from coal to cleaner energy sources by investing in wind, solar and natural gas in the upper Midwest, paving the way for Minnesota and the surrounding region to affordably meet state and national energy standards and to create new jobs and investments for local communities.
The RFP requests companies respond by Oct. 25.