December 9, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Xcel Energy soon will invite proposals for renewable energy projects to be funded through its Renewable Development Fund. The formal request for proposals (RFP) could be issued in late December once the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approves its release. Funds would be awarded next year. Up to US$25 million will be awarded from the Renewable Development Fund. The fund was created in May 1999 in accordance with a 1994 Minnesota law that permits storage of spent nuclear fuel in steel containers at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island plant near Red Wing, Minnesota. Xcel Energy is currently required by legislation to put $16 million annually into the fund. Funding for renewable energy projects will be available for various sized-projects in two categories: Energy Production, and Research and Development. In the first funding cycle in 2001, 19 projects totaling $16 million were selected for funding. The projects selected covered a broad spectrum of environmentally friendly sources for producing electricity – wind, hydro, solar and biomass – as well as several research projects. A renewable fund advisory board comprised of two representatives of Xcel Energy, two representatives of environmental organizations and one representative of the Prairie Island Indian Community will evaluate and choose winning proposals. When the release of the RFP is approved by the MPUC, more information about the RFP and the fund will be available at Xcel Energy’s Web site listed below.