Xcel Energy has nearly 1,870 megawatts of wind energy on our system to serve customers in the Upper Midwest-in parts of Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We acquire the majority of this power from power-purchase agreements with wind farm owners, most representing facilities in southwestern Minnesota. Altogether we have more than 100 of these agreements in place, with facilities ranging in size from under 2 megawatts to more than 200 megawatts. We also own and operate two large wind farms in Minnesota, the 100.5-megawatt Grand Meadow Wind Farm that went online in 2008, and the 201-megawatt Nobles Wind Farm that began operating in late 2010.
Xcel Energy is capitalizing on the excellent wind resources available in the Upper Midwest. Today wind power is our most affordable renewable resource, and we plan to add more of this cost-effective clean, renewable resource for customers. In 2013, we announced plans to add 750 megawatts of wind power over the next several years from four new projects, including two in Minnesota and two in North Dakota. The additions are estimated to save Upper Midwest customers about $225 million in fuel costs over 20 years.
Two of the projects—the 200-megawatt Pleasant Valley Project located in Austin, MN., and the 150-megawatt Borders Wind Project located in Rolette County in north central North Dakota—will be developed by RES America Developments, Inc., and RES will transfer ownership to Xcel Energy.
Managing wind power on the electric system can be challenging because it is notoriously difficult to predict. Xcel Energy has worked with Global Weather Corporation, an affiliate company of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), to develop WindWX, the most advanced wind-production forecasting system in the world. Through improved wind forecasting, we continue to save customers money and set national records for the amount of wind energy on our system. One early morning hour in April 2013, wind energy provided 42 percent of Xcel Energy’s electricity supply, a record for our Upper Midwest system. We also estimate it has saved our Upper Midwest customers $15.4 million in fuel costs since working to improve wind forecasting in 2009.
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*Xcel Energy owns and operates the 100.5-MW Grand Meadow Wind Farm located in Mower County, MN., and the 201-MW Nobles Wind Farm located in Nobles County, MN.
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