Xcel announces nation’s largest multi-state wind energy investment

Wednesday March 22, 2017 Tags: Xcel Energy, Ben Fowke, Rush Creek Wind Farm

MINNEAPOLIS -- Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL), America's leading utility wind energy provider, announced it has plans to make the largest multi-state investment in wind capacity in the nation.xcel-energy-logo

The company has proposed 11 new wind farms in seven states, including Colorado, that would add a total of 3,380 megawatts of new wind generation to its system.

The proposed plan significantly increases the amount of wind energy in the company’s energy mix by 2021, with wind fueling nearly 35 percent of its total energy mix.

“We’re investing big in wind because of the tremendous economic value it brings to our customers,” said Ben Fowke, Xcel’s chairman, president and CEO.

“With wind energy at historic low prices, we can secure savings that will benefit customers now and for decades to come. Our plan delivers on both economic and environmental fronts, as we provide customers the cleaner, renewable resources they want, while continuing to deliver the reliable and low-cost energy they need.”

Xcel Energy has proposed a combination of owned wind farms and power purchase agreements. The company anticipates investing a significant amount in wind generation over the next five years to build company-owned wind projects.

In Colorado, construction is set to begin this spring on the Rush Creek Wind Farm, which is the largest wind farm of its kind in the state. The project is expected to save Colorado customers about $1.1 billion over the life of the project.

Xcel did not reveal how much it is investing in the projects. The company said it is using federal production tax credits to secure low wind energy prices as part of the company’s ‘steel for fuel’ strategy.

Xcel Energy’s multi-state investment in wind expanded today as the company submitted a proposal to add 1,230 megawatts of new wind energy in Texas and New Mexico, with the majority owned by the company. It plans to build two wind farms and buy wind energy from another facility through a long-term contract. The projects are expected to save the region’s customers about $2.8 billion over a 30-year period.

Last week, the company launched its largest-ever wind expansion in the upper Midwest, with a proposal to add seven new wind farms in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. The plan brings an additional 1,550 megawatts of new wind energy to its Upper Midwest system, with most of the projects being company owned.

The proposed farms are expected to save more than $4 billion over the life of the projects.

Xcel Energy said it expects to see at least a 45 percent reduction company-wide in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2021, if it is able to fully implement approved and proposed renewable energy plans.

“Our plans allow us to harness the wind-rich resources we have in the states we serve and deliver outstanding economic value to our customers while delivering emissions-free energy that will reduce our carbon footprint,” said Fowke.

Xcel Energy’s plans across its service territory are projected to generate nearly $400 million in property taxes over the life of the projects, and bring more than 2,000 construction or full-time jobs to the communities it serves.

All projects are in various stages of regulatory approval, Xcel said.