January 26, 2011

Xcel getting wind of welcome lower bids

By Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, www.denverpost.com 26 January 2011

After seeing prices for wind energy falling, Xcel Energy balked at pursuing a 2009 agreement with E.On Climate & Energy for 201 megawatts of wind power.

Xcel this week reported that its decision to rebid the power contract has resulted in 43 bids totaling 6,000 megawatts – at prices more than 30 percent below rates in the previous offer.

“This response justifies our decision and will save ratepayers money,” said Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz.

The bids came from proposed wind farms in eastern Colorado, according to an Xcel report to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

“It shows we have an abundance of wind resources in Colorado,” said Craig Cox, executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a trade association.

There also were bids from projects in New Mexico and Wyoming.

The report indicates that 13 of the bids came in at prices more than 30 percent below the 2009 price.

Seven bids were 20 percent to 30 percent below the previous price.

The dollar values of the bids, however, are confidential.

“There is a healthy and competitive market,” said Ron Lehr, Western representative for the American Wind Energy Association, the wind-industry trade group.

“We have mixed feelings,” Lehr said. “We don’t like to see the winner of a bid kissed off, but we see Xcel’s side. It will help ratepayers.”

Xcel said in the report to the commission: “Our belief has turned out to be correct, and substantial cost savings can be achieved by contracting with one or more of the bidders . . . versus the 201 MW E.On proposal.”

In 2010, Xcel had total wind capacity of about 1,760 megawatts from 12 purchase-power agreements and one company-owned wind farm.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/01/26/xcel-getting-wind-of-welcome-lower-bids/