November 7, 2007
Colorado, Minnesota

Xcel may pump billions into wind power

Xcel Energy Inc., owner of utilities in Denver and Minneapolis, may invest billions of dollars to boost wind power capacity to take advantage of rising demand for cleaner energy.

Xcel, based in Minneapolis, wants to increase the wind power farms it operates, rather than buying output from other power producers, Chief Executive Officer Dick Kelly said Tuesday. It is targeting adding more than 1,000 megawatts through the year 2020.

Xcel distributes electricity from wind farms that have about 2,800 megawatts of capacity, of which it owns a fraction, or 25 megawatts. Xcel is investing about $210 million to build a farm in Minnesota capable of generating about 100 megawatts.

Wind power investment “will probably be in the billions of dollars,” Kelly said at the Edison Electric Institute financial conference in Orlando, Fla. “That’s how we grow the company.”

Xcel estimates it will get 24 percent of its electricity from wind power and other renewable energy by 2020. It got about 9 percent last year. Wind power generates no pollution, unlike power plants fueled by coal, natural gas and oil.

The company needs to procure an additional 3,200 megawatts of wind power by 2020 and targets owning as much as 50 percent of that amount, Kelly said.

FPL Group Inc. is the nation’s largest producer of power from wind turbines. Other companies seeking to add wind power capacity include AES Corp., Duke Energy Corp. and Edison International.

By Greg Chang, Bloomberg News

Rocky Mountain News

7 November 2007

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