Xcel Energy proposing big wind power expansion

Jul 4, 2017

Xcel Energy has a plan to add 1550 megawatts of wind generation.

And it has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission to give its OK to the plan.

Xcel wants the PSC to issue what is called “advanced determination of prudence.” That designation could make it easier for the utility to seek financing for the project.

The projects include Foxtail, in Dickey County, and Clean Energy #1 in Mercer and Morton Counties. Foxtail is a 150 megawatt wind farm, and Clean Energy #1 is a 100 megawatt facility.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said teh PSC will have a number of questions for the utility.

"They've told us they're looking at early retirements of some of their coal facilities," Fedorchak said. "There's also an on-going question about how long Xcel is going to extend its nuclear fleet. Those are some key baseload resources I know I and some others on the Commission feel are important, long-term, to maintain."

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said the PSC wants to make sure North Dakota’s Xcel customers won’t be paying more than their fair share of the project.

"The North Dakota system percentage is approximately 7%," Kroshus said. "So that would mean about 7% of the cost would be applicable to North Dakota ratepayers."

A hearing on Xcel's proposal is scheduled in September.