Xcel Energy finalizes purchase of two wind projects

Xcel Energy has completed the purchase of two wind energy projects in the Upper Midwest: 200-MW Blazing Star 2 in southwest Minnesota and 300-MW Dakota Range 1 and 2 in eastern South Dakota. The two projects, in addition to the 200-MW Blazing Star 1 project under construction, are part of the company’s strategy that will add 1,850 MW of renewable energy in the region over the next two years.

“Our customers want clean, reliable, affordable energy. That’s why we’re investing in projects like Blazing Star and Dakota Range that will help keep bills low, build on our clean energy leadership, and provide economic benefits for the region,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

The company has a strategy to deliver 85% carbon-free electricity by 2030 in the Upper Midwest and a new vision of zero-carbon electricity by 2050.

Current Xcel Energy wind projects under development in the region are:

  • Blazing Star 1 and 2 (Minnesota)
  • Crowned Ridge (South Dakota)—600 MW
  • Dakota Range 1 and 2 (South Dakota)
  • Freeborn (Minnesota and Iowa)—200 MW
  • Foxtail (North Dakota) —150 MW
  • Glen Ullin (North Dakota)—100 MW
  • Lake Benton (Minnesota)—100 MW

The Blazing Star projects are located near Hendricks and will include nearly 200 wind turbines and cover about 70,000 acres. Fewer than 100 acres of land will be used for the project, while the rest will remain in agricultural production. Geronimo Energy developed both phases of the Blazing Star projects, and Mortenson Construction will build the project in 2019 to 2020.

About 200 construction workers will build Blazing Star 2, which will require about 10 to 15 full-time employees to operate and maintain. Workers will build access roads and install concrete foundations beginning in spring 2019. Turbines and blades will be installed in 2019 and 2020. Construction on an operations and maintenance building began in 2018.

The Dakota Range 1 and 2 project in Codington and Grant counties will include 72 wind turbines. About 200 construction workers will build the project in 2020 to 2021.

Apex Clean Energy developed the Dakota Range project.

Xcel Energy has wind energy projects in development that will lead to it being the first utility with more than 10,000 MW of renewable energy on its system. The company provides energy to homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states.

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Elizabeth Ingram is senior editor of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines and conference committee chair for HydroVision International. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the magazine publishing industry, with more than nine of those spent in hydro.

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