MINNEAPOLIS (July 27, 2020) – Xcel Energy announced today the first step in plans to repower older wind farms with new technology in the Upper Midwest. The company is asking for proposals to give legacy wind farms currently serving Xcel Energy customers new life with improved technology as part of its commitment to expand renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. As the company works with state leaders and regulators to spur the economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these projects will create hundreds of construction jobs and lower costs for customers while increasing the amount of carbon free renewable energy in the region. Repowered wind projects can typically generate at least 10% more electricity annually with updated technology.
Xcel Energy’s request for proposals for repowered projects will also help the company as it works to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2030, compared to 2005, and move closer to achieving its vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. Xcel Energy plans to focus on securing projects with bidders who will use local union labor, and diverse suppliers.
“Securing new projects will send workers back to factories and project sites and is the first step in our long-term plan to recover from the unprecedented times the COVID-19 pandemic has presented,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “We’ll also take this opportunity to support businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans and other diverse suppliers so they can grow and expand their work in the renewable energy and construction industries.”
Repowering wind projects throughout the Upper Midwest is part of Xcel Energy’s $3 billion Relief and Recovery proposal announced in June, one of the largest energy infrastructure proposals in state history. In addition to rebuilding older wind projects, the company also proposed to build 460 megawatts of new universal solar projects near the Sherco power plant in Becker, Minn., expand energy efficiency and conservation programs, and accelerate other transmission and distribution projects that can quickly put people back to work. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will consider the proposals made by Xcel Energy and other utilities in the coming weeks.
Upper Midwest wind proposals due in August
The company is seeking proposals to repower projects that currently provide electricity to Xcel Energy customers and are located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin, the states the company serves in the Upper Midwest. Projects must already have interconnection agreements with the Midwest Intercontinental System Operator (MISO).
Repowering projects can be proposed to Xcel Energy to provide electricity through a direct sale to the company or for a power purchase agreement. Projects must be completed and in-service by 2024.
The RFP can be accessed at www.xcelenergy.com/NSPWindSolicitation.
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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 xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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