The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today released its annual market report and recognized Xcel Energy for its sustained commitment and contribution to the wind industry. AWEA named Xcel Energy the nation’s top utility wind energy provider, a position it has held for more than a decade.
“We recognized years ago the benefits of operating in a wind-rich area of the country where we’re able to harness the resource to meet customers’ expectations for clean, renewable energy,” said Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy chairman, president and CEO. “Wind energy plays a significant role in our future plans as an emissions free resource that brings fuel savings and low cost energy to customers.“
Xcel Energy serves eight states from Minnesota to Texas and currently has more than 6,600 megawatts of wind energy on its system companywide. That is about 8 percent of the total U.S. wind capacity and enough to power about 3.3 million average-size homes.
“Xcel Energy continues to hold the title for most wind energy on a utility system in 2016, even as other utilities also ramp up low-cost, reliable wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Xcel Energy’s pioneering leadership shows how we can use even more of our great American wind resources while creating new jobs throughout the heartland.”
Last month, Xcel Energy announced the nation’s largest multi-state investment in wind energy with the addition of 3,380 megawatts of new wind generation to its system. The proposed wind farms will operate in seven states; Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.
The new wind energy brings economic value to Xcel Energy customers with a total of nearly $8 billion in fuel cost savings over the life of the projects. Federal production tax credits, combined with today’s low wind costs, allow the company to secure low energy prices for wind.
Xcel Energy’s wind portfolio will contribute to an estimated 45 percent reduction companywide in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2021, if the company is able to fully implement approved and proposed renewable energy plans.
States and communities served by Xcel Energy are already seeing economic benefits from existing wind farms. New wind farms will benefit many more local communities by generating nearly $400 million in property taxes over the life of the projects. Landowner payments are another economic benefit. Most of the new wind farms are large projects of 200 megawatts or more. Wind developers generally estimate about 200 temporary construction jobs and a dozen full-time jobs for a large wind farm. In total, the new wind farms will create 2,000 construction jobs and full-time jobs.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: 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.