Xcel Energy, already the nation’s leading wind-power supplier, will breeze past another milestone before the end of the year.
The company is celebrating what will be its 1,000th megawatt of wind power capacity on its Minnesota system. It will come from the MinnDakota Wind Power project, expected to go online this month and add another 150 megawatts of wind capacity to Xcel Energy’s transmission lines.
The wind farm is being completed near Brookings, S.D., but it straddles the state line, crossing into Lincoln County, Minn. The project moves Minnesota into third place nationally in wind power production behind Texas and California, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
“It’s a very significant accomplishment for the company and also for the great state of Minnesota,” said Xcel Energy CEO Dick Kelly at an event Tuesday in Minneapolis to celebrate the announced milestone.
Xcel Energy supplies its customers with more wind-generated electricity than any other utility in the country. Kelly said 1,000 megawatts is enough electricity to power about 270,000 homes.
“They are a national leader, and other utilities are looking to them as a model for adding wind into their system,” said John Dunlop, a senior outreach engineer with the American Wind Energy Association. He credits strong leadership within the company, especially under Kelly, for aggressively pursuing wind-power goals.
Xcel Energy will add more wind-power capacity next year when it completes the Grand Meadow Wind Farm, a 100-megawatt project near Austin, Minn., that’s scheduled to be operational by the end of 2008. It’s also constructing a major transmission line to carry power to customers from the state’s largest wind farm in southwestern Minnesota.