MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xcel Energy unveiled a new phase of wind power construction Thursday that includes a huge wind farm in South Dakota and two others in Minnesota and North Dakota.
The utility’s planned Crowned Ridge Wind Project in Codington, Deuel and Grant Counties of eastern South Dakota would have a capacity of 600 megawatts. It will be Xcel’s largest-ever wind investment in the Upper Midwest, said Chris Clark, the company’s president for Minnesota and the Dakotas. It will have the same capacity as Xcel’s planned Rush Creek farm in Colorado, which had been the company’s largest single wind project.
The other new projects include a 100-megawatt wind farm in Morton and Mercer Counties of western North Dakota, and another 100-megawatt project in Pipestone County of southwestern Minnesota. All three will be owned by their developers, at least initially, with Xcel buying the power.
They are the latest phase in a plan that Minneapolis-based Xcel announced in September to increase its Upper Midwest wind capacity by 60 percent. In October, it announced plans for three new wind farms in Minnesota and one in North Dakota with a total 750 megawatts of capacity. Including the new plants, Xcel is investing $2.5 billion in the initiative.
“This is some of the best priced wind power and it’s a great value for our customers,” Clark said. The new wind installations would produce power at a cost of 1.5 to 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which compares favorably to the 2.3 to 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour from Xcel’s big coal-fired Sherco plant near Becker, Minnesota.
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