Xcel Energy Receives Approval for 1,550MW Wind Energy Plan

The seven new wind farms constitute the company’s largest wind expansion in upper Midwest, which will increase its regional wind output by roughly 70 percent.   

Xcel Energy upper midwest wind expansion
Xcel Energy upper Midwest wind expansion

Xcel Energy received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the largest expansion of wind energy in the upper Midwest. The North Dakota Public Service Commission will review the plan later this year.

The new energy plan consists of seven new wind farms for Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and are slated to begin commercial operation by the end of 2020. Combined, the facilities will generate enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes, increasing Xcel Energy’s regional wind output by roughly 70 percent.

“We’re investing in low-cost wind energy to provide the benefits of clean, affordable energy directly to our customers,” Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, said in a prepared statement. “These projects deliver on our plan to keep energy costs low while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 60 percent in the coming decades.”

All projects will operate unaffected by the fuel price spikes, as no fuel is needed for wind farms. Consequently, this means the electricity price will remain stable throughout the 25-year life of the wind facilities. In addition, local landowners and governments will receive millions in lease payments and property taxes during the life of the projects. Xcel Energy estimates lease payments will surpass $7 million annually, with property tax contributions exceeding $8 million. Furthermore, the wind projects are expected to create up to 1,500 construction jobs.

“Our strategy delivers the long-term value our customers tell us they want,” continued Clark. “These projects give our customers both lower bills over the long term and predictable prices, in addition to a cleaner energy mix.”

Energy plan details

The following properties are included in Xcel’s plan:

  • Freeborn Wind Energy, a 200-megawatt project located in Freeborn County, Minn., and Worth and Mitchell Counties, Iowa;
  • Foxtail Wind, a 150-megawatt project located in Dickey County, N.D.;
  • Blazing Star 1, a 200-megawatt project located in Lincoln County, Minn.;
  • Blazing Star 2, a 200-megawatt project located in Lincoln County, Minn.;
  • Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 600-megawatt project located in Codington County, S.D.;
  • Lake Benton Wind Project, a 100-megawatt project in Pipestone County, Minn.; and
  • Clean Energy 1, a 100-megawatt project in Morton and Mercer counties, N.D.

Image courtesy of Xcel Energy