Trade Resources Industry Views Reduced Customer Costs and Lower Carbon Emissions Are Among The Benefits

Reduced Customer Costs and Lower Carbon Emissions Are Among The Benefits

Reduced customer costs and lower carbon emissions are among the benefits of a 150-megawatt Upper Midwest wind project Xcel Energy has proposed to regulators, the company said today.

Border Winds Project is the fourth new wind resource proposed by the company in its Upper Midwest service territory in the last month, and it brings to 750 megawatts the total new wind proposed by Xcel Energy in the region. Combined with proposals in the company's Colorado and Texas/New Mexico service areas, Xcel Energy since earlier this year has proposed adding a total of at least 1,650 megawatts of wind resources, a 30 percent increase in overall wind capacity.

"Wind energy is a valuable, low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels right now," said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. "These projects will reduce customer costs by providing a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices well into the future."

Border Winds Project would reduce customer costs by an estimated $45 million over the project's life.  The total amount saved from the four Upper Midwest projects is expected to be more than $220 million.

At the same time, it is estimated that Border Winds Project would reduce carbon dioxide emissions an average of 320,000 tons annually in Xcel Energy's NSP service territory, where the company already is on track to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

RES America Developments Inc. would develop the project and then transfer ownership to Xcel Energy. The project would be located in Rolette County in north central North Dakota, near the Canadian border.

In July, Xcel Energy requested approval of three wind projects in its NSP territory: power purchase agreements with the 200 megawatt Odell Wind Farm near Windom, Minn., and the 200 megawatt Courtenay Wind Farm near Jamestown, N.D., and a sales agreement with RES America Developments Inc. for the 200 megawatt Pleasant Valley Wind Project near Austin, Minn.

Xcel Energy submitted the projects to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the North Dakota Public Service Commission for consideration.

Decisions on the proposals are expected by late fall. Construction on the projects will begin immediately in order to qualify for the extended federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit. All four projects are scheduled to be in service by the beginning of 2016.

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company that provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies in eight Western and Midwestern states. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.

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XCEL Energy Proposes Fourth Upper Midwest Wind Project
Topics: Metallurgy