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MINNEAPOLIS – With Earth Day quickly approaching, Xcel Energy’s Windsource has reached a milestone. Since the program began in 2003, Minnesota Windsource customers have supported the production of more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours of clean wind energy.
Windsource, one of the nation’s largest voluntary renewable energy programs, allows customers to support renewable energy by choosing to have some, or all, of their electricity powered by wind.
“Our Windsource program has given customers a choice they want, and it’s helped the environment,” said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “Windsource production has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Minnesota by an estimated 1.6 billion tons, or the equivalent emissions of taking more than 32 million vehicles off the roads.”
Xcel Energy currently has 20 wind farms dedicated or partially dedicated to Windsource, representing 64 wind turbines and nearly 90 megawatts of capacity. More than 22,000 residential customers and 275 business customers in Minnesota are Windsource participants.
Several large Windsource customers are planning Earth Day events in April that will celebrate their participation in the program including Metro Transit’s “Ride the Wind” promotion, Wild Hockey Windsource Day and an awards ceremony recognizing the University of St. Thomas, the largest Windsource customer.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, Windsource provided 82 percent of the electricity used on St. Thomas campuses in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“When it comes to the purchase of renewable energy, the Windsource program has allowed St. Thomas to be among the top colleges and universities in the country,” said Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas. “In addition to investing in green construction and energy efficiency, Windsource is a critical part of our Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.”
The Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center are also major Windsource customers, operating a program that allows individual events to purchase renewable energy through Windsource. This year, the entire home season of the Minnesota Wild hockey team is powered by Windsource.
“At the Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, we strive to be a model for sustainable practices,” said Jack Larson, vice president and general manager of Xcel Energy Center. “Our partnership with Xcel Energy's Windsource program is a wonderful way to provide our clients with the ability to positively impact our energy future.”
Karolyn Kirchgesler, president & CEO of Visit Saint Paul and the RiverCentre Authority, said meeting planners are constantly looking to make their meetings greener. “Windsource is a very unique program that many of our competitors do not provide which puts us at an advantage with those meeting planners committed to sustainability,” Kirchgesler said.
Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee purchases Windsource for its roastery, which also features geothermal heating, a rooftop garden and an array of solar panels.
“We believe that businesses have a responsibility to make the world a better place,” said Lee Wallace, CEO and Queen Bean of Peace Coffee. “We strive to support fair trade practices and organic coffee from small-scale coffee farmers around the world. With Windsource, we’re also able to support the development of local renewable energy, which helps rural communities and farmers in Minnesota.”
Windsource subscriptions are available in 100 kilowatt-hour blocks for an additional premium of $3.53 per block, less a credit for fuel costs. Customers can sign up for as little as one block or opt to have 100 percent of their electricity provided through Windsource for about $10 per month for the average residential customer. For more information on Windsource and its environmental benefits visit the link below.
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