Xcel Energy Inc. will build its largest Upper Midwest wind project ever in eastern South Dakota, the latest phase of a huge new wind power investment in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
A 150MW Foxtail Wind project located in Dickey County, North Dakota, developed by NextEra Energy Resources, The other projects include Blazing Star 1 and 2, with a combined capacity of 400 MW, located in Lincoln County, Minnesota, developed by Geronimo Energy.
"We are excited to partner with Xcel Energy to deliver additional low-priced wind resources to serve their customers", Allan S. Rudeck Jr., president of Allete Clean Energy, said in a press release.
"We're significantly increasing the amount of wind generation on our system in part due to the recent completion of Midwest transmission projects that connect wind-rich areas to our customers", said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota. The $100 million investment in safe harbor turbines allows the company to pursue its three-pronged PTC strategy, which includes building and operating new wind farms based on long-term PPAs, building wind farms for other companies for a development fee or a sale price, and refurbishing its existing wind farms while extending PPAs. The last project the company built in North Dakota, the 107.5-megawatt Thunder Spirit wind farm, was sold to Montana-Dakota Utilities in 2015. The plan includes 750 MW of self-build projects, unveiled in October 2016, and 800 MW of newly-proposed schemes.
Crown Ridge, developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, will generate $75 million in property taxes. In addition, the total number of projects are estimated to create approximately 1,500 construction jobs and about 80 full time jobs when all the wind farms are operational.
Meantime the Clean Energy 1 project has been permitted and has landowner agreements in place.
All planned projects are subject to regulatory approval and expected to be producing power by 2020.