Xcel Energy Zeros in on 2005 Wind Power Projects

Xcel Energy has begun negotiations with three wind-power developers to add approximately 400 MW of wind power to its electricity generating mix in Colorado. Xcel Energy hopes to complete the negotiations with these developers by March and begin buying wind power from these new facilities by the end of 2005.

“If negotiations are successful, these three power purchase agreements will nearly triple the company’s wind power in Colorado, to more than 600 MW,” said David Eves, Xcel Energy vice president of Resource Planning and Acquisition. With the anticipated completion of these projects and the 25 MW of purchased wind power that the company has in Wyoming, wind energy will account for approximately 650 MW, or nearly 9 percent, of Xcel Energy generation capacity for Colorado. Last fall, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission gave Xcel Energy permission to issue a RFP to pursue up to 500 MW of renewable energy under the company’s overall resource planning process. This was done in part to allow the company and renewable energy developers to take advantage of possible extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. Late last fall, the U.S. Congress extended the PTC for wind energy through the end of 2005. Xcel Energy initially received bids for 17 projects from 12 companies, representing about 2,000 MW of wind power. In its analysis of these proposals, the company found three projects, totaling 400 MW, which can be completed by the end of 2005. In addition to negotiating with the three projects for 2005, Xcel Energy is continuing to review bids that could be completed by the end of 2006, with the hope that the U.S. Congress again elects to extend the PTC. “It is our hope that the federal tax credits will be extended, allowing us to obtain possibly another 100 MW of wind power, and reach the overall target of an additional 500 MW of wind power by 2006 as described in the company’s renewable RFP,” Eves said. “The extension of the PTC for wind energy is critical to obtaining cost-effective wind resources for Colorado.”

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