Construction to begin in Southwest Minnesota this summer
MINNEAPOLIS (June 29, 2018) – Xcel Energy continues to expand its wind portfolio as it takes over development of the Blazing Star wind project in southwest Minnesota. The company will build, own and operate the wind facility. The purchase marks the second major acquisition this year of large wind farms in the Upper Midwest. The addition of Blazing Star moves forward Xcel Energy’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy, taking advantage of low-cost wind energy in the region.
The 200 megawatt project, located in Lincoln County near the South Dakota border, will provide enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes and is part of Xcel Energy’s vision to achieve 85 percent clean energy by 2030 in the Upper Midwest. The plan includes adding 1,850 megawatts of wind energy in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.
“Our customers want low-cost clean energy, and building projects like Blazing Star will help keep bills low while reducing carbon emissions,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Blazing Star Wind will provide value to landowners, the local community and our customers who use the electricity it provides.”
Blazing Star Wind will be built in 2018-2019 and will further Xcel Energy’s nation-leading wind energy portfolio, projected to save customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs over the coming decades. Xcel Energy’s ‘steel for fuel’ strategy will keep customer bill increases below the rate of inflation by investing in low-cost wind energy as the company transitions its energy fleet away from coal.
“Our vision to achieve nation-leading carbon reduction goals while keeping bills low is good for our customers and our communities,” said Clark. “The Buffalo Ridge area boasts one of the strongest, most consistent wind resources in the world. The wind energy we build here will be a great source of carbon-free energy for our customers and the region.”
About Blazing Star The Blazing Star Wind project, initially developed by Geronimo Energy, will provide enough wind energy to power more than 100,000 homes. The facility will connect to the recently completed CapX2020 transmission lines. Construction on substations and transmission infrastructure will begin in 2018.
The facility will provide significant benefits to the local community, including: • $32 million in landowner payments over the next 25 years (estimated) • More than $20 million in local taxes to support communities and infrastructure needs (estimated) • $800,000 in charitable donations through the Blazing Star Community Fund (funded by Geronimo Energy)
Project development and construction Blazing Star Wind was developed by Geronimo Energy, which identified the location and worked with landowners and stakeholders to move the project forward.
“Geronimo Energy’s community-driven, farmer-friendly mission is aligned with Xcel Energy’s commitment to the communities it serves,” said David Reamer, president, Geronimo Energy. “Blazing Star marks Geronimo’s fifth wind project it has partnered with Xcel Energy on, and we are excited to see this project begin construction and move forward towards contributing to the local and statewide communities and economies.“
The project will be built by Golden Valley, Minn.-based Mortenson Construction. During peak construction activities, there will be about 200 construction workers onsite to build the project, which will require about 10-15 fulltime employees when operating.
“We look forward to helping Xcel Energy reach their goal of 85 percent clean energy in the Upper Midwest,” said Tim Maag, vice president and general manager of Mortenson’s Wind Energy Group. “Blazing Star Wind will be a tremendous addition to renewable energy production capacity in southwestern Minnesota, and we’re committed to safely delivering the project on schedule and in partnership with the local community.”
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About Xcel Energy Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit http://www.xcelenergy.com/or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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