Xcel Energy has submitted to state regulators a proposal to add 600 MW of wind resources through three projects in its Upper Midwest service territory.
If the proposal is approved, Xcel says construction would begin in time to qualify for the extended federal production tax credit and the additional 600 MW could lower customer costs by $180 million over the lives of the projects.
"Wind prices are extremely competitive right now, offering lower costs than other possible resources, like natural gas plants," says Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co., a Minnesota-based Xcel Energy company.Â "These projects offer a great hedge against rising and often-volatile fuel prices."
Sparby notes that Xcel already has 1.8 GW of wind energy on its system in the Upper Midwest.
Following a request for proposals in February, Xcel Energy selected the three following projects to submit to regulators for review:
– Courtenay Wind Farm, a 200 MW project near Jamestown, N.D., under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy;
– Odell Wind Farm, a 200 MW project near Windom, Minn., also under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy; and
– Pleasant Valley, a 200 MW project near Austin, Minn., submitted by RES America Developments Inc. RES would develop the project and then transfer ownership to Xcel Energy. The Pleasant Valley project is adjacent to the Grand Meadow wind project, which Xcel Energy owns.
All three projects are scheduled to be in service by the beginning of 2016.
Xcel Energy submitted the projects to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the North Dakota Public Service Commission for consideration and notified regulators in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The company also indicated it would continue to evaluate projects and could make additional proposals if similar benefits can be achieved.
Xcel notes that this represents the third wind acquisition proposal from the company in recent weeks. Xcel Energy's operating companies in its Upper Midwest, Colorado and Texas-New Mexico service territories each requested wind project proposals earlier this year in order to take advantage of the PTC, which was extended in January.