First ever American Wind Week celebrates US leadership in wind power
Xcel Energy recently announced the nation’s largest multi-state investment in wind energy with 11 new wind farms in seven states. Adding 3,380 megawatts of new wind generation will keep customer bills low now and in the future. It is an example of the significant value wind energy provides to customers and communities, as the country recognizes the inaugural American Wind Week.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) launched American Wind Week, Aug. 6 to 12, 2017 to acknowledge U.S. leadership in wind power, along with economic and environmental benefits of wind as the industry expands to meet the country’s growing demand for energy.
“As the nation’s No. 1 utility wind provider for more than a decade, we’ve long recognized this abundant natural resource provides tremendous value to our customers and communities,” said Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy chairman, president and CEO. “Wind power is emissions-free and cheaper than fossil fuels, allowing us to deliver lower prices and cleaner energy to our customers today and in the decades to come.”
Xcel Energy has more than 6,600 megawatts of wind energy on its system companywide, representing eight percent of the nation’s total wind capacity – enough to power about three million average homes annually. The company’s customers use energy generated from nearly 4,300 wind turbines in seven states; Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We started American Wind Week to honor the American innovators who taught the world how to harness the wind for large-scale electricity generation,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “And we aren’t about to cede wind power leadership. Every day U.S. wind workers put up an average of 10 new turbines. Those turbines are the tip of a vast manufacturing supply chain and they’re a rural economic development engine that spans all 50 states.”
Delivering for local communities
Wind power is a proven economic boost for local economies and more communities will soon benefit from new projects. Xcel Energy’s wind plans are projected to generate nearly $400 million in property taxes over the lives of the projects; benefiting local schools, fire departments and other services. In addition, the new wind farms will provide more than 2,000 construction jobs and about 100 permanent jobs in the states served by Xcel Energy.
Delivering value for customers
By bringing wind power onto its system and advancing the accuracy of wind forecasting, Xcel Energy has used more wind energy and saved customers a total of $66.7 million in fuel costs through 2016. The current low wind prices and available tax credits for new wind farms will also bring value to customers by saving them more than a billion dollars of costs over the lives of the projects.