Xcel Energy seeks more low-cost wind power

Proposal to add 200 megawatts to voluntary Windsource program. Xcel Energy has proposed buying 200 megawatts of additional and low-cost wind generation for its Windsource program in a filing made with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

If approved, the wind energy would be purchased from NextEra Energy Resources LLC, and produced at its Limon Wind Farm Center II, with wind turbines located in Lincoln County near Limon, Colo.

“This proposed purchase contains the lowest-cost wind energy we’ve seen, making it competitive with other energy sources,” said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “Even though Xcel Energy is ahead of schedule to meet Colorado’s 30 percent renewable energy standard by 2020, we can take advantage of historically low wind prices to give our customers more choice in the energy powering their home and businesses.”

“This is a great opportunity for our customers and the company,” said Ben Fowke, president and chief operating officer of Xcel Energy. “In addition to giving our customers a choice, it makes good economic sense because it allows us to take advantage of production tax credits. It’s a good business decision from all perspectives.”

This proposal was originally developed by Xcel Energy and NextEra Energy Resources as a potential offering for the City of Boulder, Colo. as part of the utility’s franchise negotiations with the city.

This is the first of two applications Xcel Energy plans to file with the CPUC. The second filing, expected within 45 days, will discuss the details of the new Windsource product offerings, which will take advantage of this low-cost wind power.

Xcel Energy will schedule stakeholder meetings in the near future to take input on product design, prior to making the final filing with the CPUC.

If approved by the commission, construction will begin in early 2012, with an expected completion date in late 2012. The additional purchase of wind will give Xcel Energy in Colorado a total of more than 2,100 megawatts of wind generation on its system. Renewable energy currently makes up nearly 12 percent of the company’s energy supply mix in the state, with the majority of that from wind power.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Xcel Energy and appreciate their ongoing confidence in our company and support of low-cost, emission-free, renewable energy,” said Mitch Davidson, president and CEO, NextEra Energy Resources.

For more than a decade, Xcel Energy has offered its customers the option to choose renewable energy. Xcel Energy is the country’s number one utility wind energy provider, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and is in the top 10 for solar energy capacity.

The company’s Windsource program, launched in 1998, is one of the largest voluntary green-energy programs in the United States. Last year, more than 61,000 residential customers and 1,300 businesses in Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin purchased renewable energy through Windsource.