RES Americas to build Minnesota wind farm for Xcel Energy

RES America Developments, a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES Americas), said July 19 that it is working with Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to construct the 200-MW Pleasant Valley Wind Farm.

The project is near Austin, Minn., adjacent to the Grand Meadow wind project owned by Xcel.

“RES Americas is pleased to once again work with Xcel Energy to provide an additional 200 megawatts of affordable and clean energy to the region,” said Susan Reilly, president and CEO of RES Americas. “This is an excellent example of the realized benefits of the Production Tax Credit. This project will generate clean, renewable energy, and provide one of the lowest cost power resources currently available in the region.”

“The Pleasant Valley Wind Project along with the other wind purchases we are making will lower our customers’ bills, offer protection from rising fuel costs, and provide significant environmental benefits,” said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power-Minnesota, an Xcel company.

RES Americas will continue its role as developer and constructor of Pleasant Valley. Once the project is complete, it will transfer ownership of Pleasant Valley to Xcel Energy, who will own and operate the project. The development and construction schedules remain on track to be completed by the end of 2015, with development activities into 2014 and plans to break ground in mid-2014. 

Pleasant Valley Wind Farm is part of 600 MW of wind power recently announced by Xcel in its Upper Midwest service territory. Following a request for proposals in February, Xcel Energy selected Pleasant Valley and two other projects to submit to regulators for review. Xcel submitted the projects to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the North Dakota Public Service Commission for consideration and notified regulators in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

“We are committed to meeting our customers’ needs in clean and affordable ways,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “Wind power is simply the cheapest resource available right now, and we are taking the opportunity afforded by the PTC extension to further shape our systems for the future.”

The three projects Xcel Energy picked are:

• Courtenay Wind, a 200-MW project near Jamestown, N.D., under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy;

• Odell Wind, a 200-MW project near Windom, Minn., also under an agreement with Geronimo Energy; and

• Pleasant Valley, a 200-MW project near Austin, Minn., submitted by RES America Developments. RES would develop the project and then transfer ownership to Xcel Energy.

The Courtenay Wind Farm will consist of up to 125 wind turbines to be constructed across 25,000 acres of leased land from over 60 landowners. The Odell Wind Farm will consist of up to 125 wind turbines to be constructed across 34,000 acres of leased land from over 175 landowners.

“These power purchase agreements with Geronimo will help us reduce energy costs for our customers, enhance fuel diversity in our portfolio and further reduce carbon emissions,” said Sparby in a July 16 statement released by Geronimo. “We’re proposing to add substantial amounts of wind power now to take advantage of very attractive prices for our customers that resulted from Congress’ extension of the federal renewable electricity Production Tax Credit.”

“Geronimo is excited to once again work with Xcel Energy and to deliver an additional 400 megawatts of long-term, low cost renewable energy to Xcel Energy’s customers. These two projects will also bring strong economic benefits to the local residents and communities in which they are located,” said Blake Nixon, President of Geronimo Wind Energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.