The nation’s number one utility wind provider is adding more renewable energy to its system. Xcel Energy officially acquired the Border Wind Farm earlier this December, and Pleasant Valley Wind Farm came on-line in November. With the addition of these projects, Xcel Energy increases its wind capacity by 20% and more than doubles its ownership of wind generation.
Border Wind Farm in Rolette County, N.D., is delivering enough clean, renewable energy to power 78,750 homes with 75 wind turbines. Pleasant Valley Wind Farm near Austin, Minneapolis, is providing enough electricity to power 105,000 homes with 100 wind turbines. Both projects were developed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas.
“Adding these two wind farms to our system is a significant step forward in our work to cut carbon emissions and shows our commitment to deliver 35% renewable energy to our Upper Midwest customers by 2030,”said Chris Clark, regional president, Xcel Energy. “This clean energy also comes at a reasonable cost, at prices competitive with new natural gas generation.”
The addition of 150 MWs from Border Wind and 200 megawatts at Pleasant Valley played a role in Xcel Energy reaching a new record in wind generation. Recently, the company met 40% of customers demand in the Upper Midwest with wind generation for the entire day. “Records like this demonstrate that we can deliver the clean, carbon-free energy our customers want,” said Clark.
The wind farms also have given two local economies a boost. Border Wind Farm created 10 full-time jobs, and employed 150 people during peak construction. It will generate $605,000 in local tax revenue. The Pleasant Valley Farm is expected to bring in $950,000 in local tax revenue, while producing 11 full-time jobs. It employed 250 workers during peak construction.
The two projects are part of Xcel Energy’s plan to add 750 megawatts of clean wind energy to its Upper Midwest in the next two years. The company will also buy wind power from the Odell Wind Farm near Windom, Minn., which is expected to begin operations by mid-2016. Construction started on the Courtenay Wind Farm in North Dakota and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016.
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