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I-90 power lines to harness wind energy  

We all know South Dakota is a windy state, and the PUC is about to harness that power. The Public Utilities Commission approved the final ten miles for Xcel Energy to bring transmission lines connecting sub-stations in Brandon and Lakefield, Minnesota. And these lines will be utilizing wind power.

If you’ve driven along I-90 lately, you’ve likely noticed the huge utility poles lying in the fields. Now more of them are being put to use. They are part of Xcel Energy’s plan to bring wind energy to Eastern South Dakota.

Their manager of Government and regulartory services, Jim Wilcox said, “It gives us more reliability, and more capacity. Sioux Falls is growing so you need more power all the time and this gives a new source, a new avenue for serving Sioux Falls.”

It’s part of Xcel Energy’s goal to have 30 percent of their energy come from renewable resources by the year 2020. Right now the company is only at 4 percent.

“We’re going to have to add 3500 to 4500 megawatts of wind and that’s what well have to do to get to 30 percent,” Said Wilcox.

But these new transmission lines will only hold 825 megawatts, so in order to reach their goal, they will need to continue to build even more.

“We’re always looking ahead, Sioux Falls is growing community, so we’re planning probably 10 years in advance for what we’ll need for facilities,” Said Wilcox.

And that demand will mean many more wind turbines along the horizon.

The final stretch from Brandon to the Minnesota border will cost 8 million dollars and should be completed by July of 2008.

By Luke Evans

Keloland Television

8 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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