Minneapolis, Minnesota [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] To meet customers’ future base-load energy needs in the Upper Midwest, Xcel Energy filed an application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a proposed Manitoba Hydro/wind-power package to fill a 375-megawatt (MW) baseload shortfall projected by 2015.The proposal includes purchasing 375 MW of power from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2015 and purchasing or building 380 MW of wind generation to be available in 2015 or earlier. The wind resource will complement the Manitoba Hydro purchase; combined, they will provide the same level of reliability as a new 375-MW coal plant would, but at a lower cost and significantly lower carbon emissions. Cyndi Lesher, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company noted that the filing responds to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s determination that Xcel Energy will need 375 MW of additional base-load generation in 2015 to meet growing customer demand for electricity. Under a new resource acquisition process approved by the commission, other power producers may propose competing projects for consideration through Dec. 18, 2006. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission then will determine whether one of those proposals or Xcel Energy’s plan is the best option for customers. “We determined the proposed Manitoba Hydro/wind-power package was the best way — from an environmental, economic and reliability standpoint — to meet the remaining future needs of our electricity customers in the Upper Midwest,” Lesher said.