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Xcel Energy to invest $2.5bn in Upper Midwest wind energy projects in US

EBR Staff Writer Published 17 March 2017

Xcel Energy will invest $2.5bn on a new 1.56GW wind energy capability in the Upper Midwest region in the US through a combination of owned projects and power purchase agreements.

The investment by the electric utility on seven new wind farms in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota will be its largest proposal to date.

The wind farms are expected to give cost savings of over $4bn during the life of the projects, over 25 years, according to Xcel which otherwise would have been spent on fuel and other costs to generate electricity.

Xcel Energy-Minnesota president Chris Clark said: “This investment in renewable energy keeps bills low for customers while giving them the clean energy they want and helping us achieve 63 percent carbon-free energy by 2030.

“Wind energy is at historically low prices right now so we’re able to reduce emissions while securing long-term cost savings for our customers.”

One of the seven projects, a 200MW wind power project named Freeborn Wind Energy spread across Minnesota and Iowa will be developed by Invenergy.

Minnesota will also get two more 200MW projects named Blazing Star 1 and Blazing Star 2, both developed by Geronimo Energy, along with the 100MW Lake Benton Wind Project developed by a NextEra Energy subsidiary.

Also to be developed by the unnamed NextEra Energy subsidiary is the South Dakota-located Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 300MW build-own-transfer wind power project and a 300MW purchased power agreement.

In North Dakota, a 150MW project, named Foxtail Wind will be developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Also in the same state, Allete Clean Energy will develop a new 100MW power purchase agreement project named Clean Energy 1 for Xcel.

Approximately 1,500 roles in construction activity along with 80 full time roles have been estimated to be created across the wind farms once operational, which are expected to be completed around 2020.

For that to happen, Xcel would need clearance for the projects from the state and local regulators.