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article imageXcel Energy to invest billions in new wind farms in seven states

By Karen Graham     Mar 23, 2017 in Environment
Minneapolis - Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. announced this week it is proposing to build 11 wind farms in seven states in the Southwest, the Upper Midwest, and Colorado, using Colorado-made turbines from Vestas Wind Systems for a large part of it.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company serving more than 3.3 million electric customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.
In 1998, Xcel's Windsource program allowed customers to designate that part or all of their electricity comes from a renewable energy source. By 2015, over 96,000 customers were enrolled in the Windsource program. And with more and more cities and towns looking for ways to reduce high utility bills, renewables like wind and solar power are gaining acceptance.
Wind  solar  and hydroelectricity are three emerging renewable sources of energy.
Wind, solar, and hydroelectricity are three emerging renewable sources of energy.
Jürgen from Sandesneben, Germany (CC BY 2.0)
Xcel to invest in 11 wind farms
Ben Fowke, Xcel’s chairman, president, and CEO, in a statement Tuesday said, “We’re investing big in wind because of the tremendous economic value it brings to our customers. With wind energy at historic low prices, we can secure savings that will benefit customers now and for decades to come."
If Xcel is able to fully implement it's approved and proposed renewable energy plans, they expect to see at least a 45 percent company-wide reduction in carbon emissions levels by 2021. The company expects to spend between $3.5 billion and $4.4 billion on the wind farms if all the projects are approved by regulators, according to the Denver Business Journal. Xcel is using federal production tax credits (PTC) to secure low wind energy prices.
According to Colorado's BizWest, the first project, a 600-megawatt wind farm at Rush Creek in Colorado, is set to begin construction this spring. The other 10 wind farms include: Sagamore Wind, a 522-megawatt self-build project located in N.M., Hale Wind, a 478-egawatt self-build project located in Texas, Bonita, a 230-megawatt power purchase agreement project in Texas, Freeborn Wind Energy, a 200-megawatt self-build project located in Minn., Foxtail Wind, a 150-megawatt self-build project in N.D., Blazing Star 1, a 200-megawatt self-build project in Minn., Blazing Star 2, a 200-megawatt self-build project in Minn., Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 300-megawatt build-own-transfer project and a 300-megawatt power purchase agreement in S.D., Lake Benton Wind Project, a 100-megawatt build-own-transfer project in Minn., and Clean Energy 1, a 100-megawatt power purchase agreement project in Morton and Mercer counties, N.D.
A wind farm in the U.S. using Vestas wind turbines.
A wind farm in the U.S. using Vestas wind turbines.
Vestas Wind Energy
Vestas Wind Energy turbines to be used in many of the projects
Founded in 1945, Denmark-based Vestas Wind Energy is now the world's largest wind turbine company. Besides having plants around the world, Vestas also has four plants in Colorado. Vestas wind turbines will definitely be used at the Rush Creek wind farm and at a number of the other farms, according to an Xcel spokesman.
Vestas has installed 82 Gigawatts of wind power capacity in 76 countries around the world, on every kind of site, from high altitude to extreme weather conditions. They also now have a flexible product range, making their turbines to fit any size project, no matter how big or small. So far, Vestas has installed 58,000 wind turbines all around the world.
More about xcel energy, Wind farms, vestas wind systems, seven states, Colorado
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