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Xcel Energy to add cost-competitive wind in Colorado

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Xcel Energy to add cost-competitive wind in Colorado

2011-06-27

DENVER – Taking advantage of market conditions favorable to the development of additional wind projects in Colorado, Xcel Energy announced today that it will add 200 megawatts of cost-competitive generation through a contract with NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, near Limon, Colo.

The Limon Wind Energy Center will have turbines located in both Lincoln and Elbert counties near Limon. NextEra Energy Resources was the successful bidder in a wind-energy solicitation reissued by Xcel Energy earlier this year, which had originally been a part of the company’s 2007 Colorado Resource Plan.

“Xcel Energy, with the concurrence of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), was able to capture the benefits of lower wind-power costs – our contract with NextEra Energy Resources is one of the lowest we’ve ever seen and results in a savings of nearly 40 percent for our customers,” said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “The addition of this 200-megawatt wind farm demonstrates that renewable energy can compete on an economic basis with more traditional forms of generation fuel, like natural gas, and allows us to meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard at a very reasonable cost to our customers.”

Xcel Energy originally bid the 200 megawatts of wind for Colorado in January 2009, but saw an opportunity in November 2010 to rebid the project at significant savings to customers, due to a slower period in the wind-energy markets and a surplus of turbines nationwide. The CPUC concurred with that finding – which led to the successful contract with NextEra Energy Resources.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Xcel Energy and appreciate their ongoing confidence in our company and support of emission-free, renewable energy,” said Mitch Davidson, president and CEO for NextEra Energy Resources.

“With the addition of the Limon Wind Energy Center, we will have four wind projects in Colorado with a combined generating capacity of more than 774 megawatts to help Xcel Energy meet its customers’ energy needs,” Davidson said.

The new wind farm project will include approximately 40 miles of transmission in Lincoln, Elbert and Arapahoe counties in Colorado, and will interconnect to the electrical grid at the Missile Site Substation. The land for the 125 turbines and related equipment, plus a buffer zone, is roughly 35,000 acres.  Construction will begin in early 2012, with an expected completion date in late 2012. The facility is expected to employ up to 250 workers at peak construction.

The additional purchase of wind will give Xcel Energy in Colorado a total of 1,943 megawatts of wind generation on its system.

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.

This news release includes forward-looking statements relating to increased costs associated with expected higher commodity prices that are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual results may vary materially. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update them to reflect changes that occur after that date. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, those risk factors listed from time to time by Xcel Energy in reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including Risk Factors in Item 1A and Exhibit 99.01 of Xcel Energy’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008.

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