Wind farm approved for Xcel Energy

Aug 21, 2014

The Public Service Commission has given its final okay for a new 150 megawatt wind farm to be built near the Canadian border.

The wind farm would be near Rolla. It had originally been proposed by a company called Sequoia Energy, back in 2011 – but the company didn’t build it, because it didn’t have a buyer for the power. Sequoia transferred it to Border Winds. Now, Xcel Energy wants to buy the wind farm once it’s built.

The PSC has now issued a certificate of “public convenience and necessity” to Xcel.

"When we issue a PCN to a company, they now have an obligation to build this," said Commission chairman Brian Kalk. "It ties into (Xcel's) long-term power needs."

Kalk says the wind farm also ties into an agreement Xcel made with the PSC in its last rate case – in that it was going to build natural gas turbines near Hankinson. But Kalk says the PSC will not be issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity for that particular project – even though Xcel had asked for it.

"Had we approved the PCN for this, Xcel would have been obligated to build that," said Kalk. "And I did not want to have that obligation for Xcel in that area at this time."

Kalk says Xcel is obligated, under the latest rate case, to build 400 megawatts of thermal generation somewhere in North Dakota.

"So as they find that best location, we'll see something else be filed," said Kalk.