Xcel Energy has received green signal from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for its plans to build 1.5GW wind projects in the US state.

Xcel Energy intends to build seven new wind farms in the state and claims that these new wind projects could save its customers billions of dollars in terms of fuel and other costs when compared to other energy sources.

These wind projects will be constructed in the Upper Midwest in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and are expected to be operational by the end of 2020.

The wind farms are expected to generate enough electricity to supply more than 800,000 households, while increasing the Xcel Energy’s regional wind output by about 70%.

The wind farms are expected to have a life-span of 25 years. Out of the 1.5GW, Xcel Energy will own 1.150MW and the company will buy a 400MW of clean energy under long-term power purchase agreements.

The projects include Foxtail Wind, a 150MW project located in Dickey County, North Dakota, Blazing Star 1, a 200MW project located in Lincoln County, Minnesota, and Blazing Star 2, a 200MW project located in Lincoln County, Minnesota.

They also include Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 600MW project located in Codington County, South Dakota, Lake Benton Wind Project, a 100MW project in Pipestone County, Minnesota, and Clean Energy 1, a 100MW project in Morton and Mercer counties, North Dakota. 

Xcel Energy-Minnesota president Chris Clark said: “We’re investing in low-cost wind energy to provide the benefits of clean, affordable energy directly to our customers.

“These projects deliver on our plan to keep energy costs low while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 60 percent in the coming decades.”

Clark said: “Our strategy delivers the long-term value our customers tell us they want.

“These projects give our customers both lower bills over the long term and predictable prices, in addition to a cleaner energy mix.”

During the construction phase, the wind farms are expected to provide about 1500 jobs, while yearly lease payments and property tax from the projects can amount to $7m and $8m respectively.

Image: Xcel Energy to build 1.5GW wind farms in Upper Midwest states in US. Photo: Courtesy of Luke Partridge/FreeImages.com.