Xcel Energy announces 1,500 MW Upper Midwest wind power solicitation

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) said Sept. 22 that it is seeking proposals to dramatically grow its wind energy portfolio by up to 1,500 MW.

The request for proposals (RFP) from Xcel utility Northern States Power (NSP) calls for companies to respond by Oct. 25. The RFP is an outgrowth of the utility’s 2016-2030 Upper Midwest Resource Plan. The plan envisions the Xcel Energy company slashing CO2 emissions and adding up to 1,500 MW of new wind between 2018 and 2020.

Proposals can be a mix of power purchase agreements and projects purchased from developers. Here are some key details:

  • Projects must interconnect to Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan;
  • Projects must be at least 75 MW;
  • Bidders are responsible for all transmission interconnection and system upgrades required by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO); and;
  • Xcel Energy expects to file for regulatory approval of selected projects in spring 2017. The company is seeking resources that would come online by the end of 2020.

Xcel Energy will evaluate proposals submitted, and bring forward proposed plans for regulatory review and approval.

Docket E002/RP-04-1752 from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) requires that an Independent Auditor (IA) do an independent review of the company’s evaluation and selection process in response to this solicitation.

Xcel Energy is seeking proposals now to take full advantage of great wind pricing supported by federal tax credits available for construction of new wind projects. The additional wind energy is part of the company’s long-term plan to more than double its renewable energy portfolio and deliver 63% of its energy from carbon-free resources in the next 15 years.

“We’re already the nation’s leading utility wind energy provider, but today we take another major step to transform our energy fleet to cleaner more renewable energy sources, reduce our carbon footprint, and do so at an affordable cost,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “This is a great value for our customers. We’re pursuing proposals now to take full advantage of low wind prices which means we can expand our wind energy portfolio at an extremely competitive cost.”

Xcel Energy can increase the amount of wind generation on the system without impacting service reliability because of the company’s sophisticated wind forecasting technology and infrastructure investments that have been made in our system that can deliver wind to communities where customers live. 

Xcel Energy said its clean energy plan paves the way for Minnesota and the surrounding region to affordably meet state and national energy standards, and also creates new jobs and investments.

The company expects to add enough new wind energy to power more than 750,000 homes.

To obtain additional information about this RFP, potential respondents as well as all other parties may only submit inquires to the RFP Project Manager via email at: NSP2016WINDRFP@xcelenergy.com.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.