Xcel’s Minnesota subsidiary works on power additions

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) said July 31 in its second-quarter earnings statement that its Northern States Power-Minnesota subsidiary is making progress adding new capacity.

In March 2013, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved NSP-Minnesota’s Resource Plan and ordered a competitive acquisition process with the goal of adding approximately 500 MW of generation to the NSP system by 2019.

In May of this year, the MPUC directed NSP-Minnesota to negotiate: a 100-MW solar purchased power agreement (PPA) with Geronimo Energy; a natural gas, combined-cycle PPA with Calpine; and a natural gas, combustion turbine PPA with Invenergy. It needs to file these agreements with the commission later this fall. The MPUC also directed NSP-Minnesota to present its final pricing terms for its own 215-MW natural gas combustion turbine, self-build option at the Black Dog site in Minnesota. The MPUC is expected to rule on the four options later this year.

In early 2013, NSP-Minnesota also issued a request for proposal (RFP) for wind generation and subsequently sought commission approval of these four wind projects:

  • A 200 MW ownership project for the Pleasant Valley wind farm in Minnesota;
  • A 150 MW ownership project for the Border Winds wind farm in North Dakota;
  • A 200 MW PPA with Geronimo Energy for the Odell wind farm in Minnesota; and
  • A 200 MW PPA with Geronimo Energy for the Courtenay wind farm in North Dakota.

In October 2013, the MPUC approved the four wind projects. In 2014, the North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the prudence of the Border Winds project as part of a rate case settlement and said it will address the Pleasant Valley project at a later date.

In June and July of 2014, NSP-Minnesota finalized agreements with Renewable Energy Systems Americas for the Pleasant Valley and Border Winds projects and anticipates both projects going into service in 2015.

In April 2014, NSP-Minnesota issued a RFP for up to 100 MW of solar generation resources. Proposals were received in June. NSP-Minnesota is evaluating the bids and plans to submit recommendations regarding selected bids with the MPUC in October.

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.