Xcel Energy has finalized its purchase of the 200 MW Blazing Star 2 wind project in southwest Minnesota and the 300 MW Dakota Range 1 and 2 projects in eastern South Dakota. These wind farms are in various stages of development, the company notes.
The combined Blazing Star 1 and 2, along with the Dakota Range wind projects, will provide 700 MW of energy to customers, helping accelerate Xcel’s strategy to deliver 85% carbon-free electricity by 2030 in the Upper Midwest and zero-carbon electricity by 2050.
The Blazing Star projects, located near Hendricks in southwest Minnesota, will include nearly 200 wind turbines and cover approximately 70,000 acres. Fewer than 100 acres of land will be used for the project, while the rest will remain in agricultural production. Edina, Minn.-based Geronimo Energy developed both phases, and Golden Valley, Minn.-based Mortenson Construction will build the project.
About 200 construction workers will build Blazing Star 2, which will require approximately 10-15 full-time employees to operate and maintain. Workers will build access roads and install concrete foundations beginning this spring. Turbines and blades will be installed later this year and in 2020. Construction on an operations and maintenance building began last year.
The Dakota Range Wind 1 and 2 project, located in Codington and Grant counties in northeast South Dakota, will include 72 wind turbines. Apex Clean Energy is the developer.
“Our customers want clean, reliable, affordable energy,” says Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “That’s why we’re investing in projects like Blazing Star and Dakota Range that will help keep bills low, build on our clean energy leadership, and provide economic benefits for the region.”