Xcel Energy has announced plans to upgrade the Pleasant Valley Wind Farm with new technology as part of the company’s proposed $3 billion in incremental and accelerated investments to help the region’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Xcel Energy is proposing to upgrade four wind farms it currently owns and purchase energy from three other wind projects through power purchase agreements.
The seven proposed projects will deliver 720 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power more than 378,000 homes annually while providing landowners and local governments more than $9 million in annual tax and lease payments.
The project would include adding longer blades, increasing the rotor diameter from 100 meters to 110 meters, and upgrading other components within the turbine. No new wind turbines would be added and the existing access roads and underground power lines (collection lines) would not be changed. The project would require Xcel Energy to operate a crane at each existing wind turbine site, crossing fields as necessary to move the crane from wind turbine to wind turbine.
Construction would take place in 2024 with a late spring start and be complete by the end of 2024. Restoration activities may continue into 2025 depending on the weather. The project is expected to extend the life of the wind farm for 25 years (2049). The current wind leases are set to expire in 2045 and Xcel Energy will need support from landowners to extend current leases through 2049. Xcel Energy will also be requesting new wind leases from several landowners whose properties are located on the edge of the wind farm and are not currently participating in the project.
Xcel Energy representatives will reach out to affected landowners.
Pleasant Valley spans nearly 25,000 acres of property near Austin in southern Minnesota. It is located adjacent to our Grand Meadows wind farm and will generate enough electricity to power about 105,000 homes. The amount of electricity generated is determined by the wind's speed. The wind turbines are equipped with three variable pitch blades enabling power output to be controlled if desired.
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