An advisory board with representation from Xcel Energy, environmental groups, Xcel Energy customers and the Prairie Island Indian community recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that around $8.22 million be awarded to projects for energy production and $14.4 million for research and development.

Nearly 100 renewable energy proposals were reviewed during the current funding cycle. In previous cycles, more than $52 million has been awarded for renewable energy research and renewable energy production. Currently, more than 23MW of renewable energy are under development from fund initiatives.

Money for the renewable development fund, which was created in 1999, comes from Xcel Energy customers. Each year the company transfers $16 million to the fund in accordance with state statute. Owners of energy production projects sell the energy to Xcel Energy or use the energy themselves.

Scott Wilensky, Xcel Energy’s acting vice president of regulatory and government affairs, said: Innovative and new renewable technologies, such as solar and biomass, have trouble competing with conventional energy in the marketplace. The fund’s objective is to remove barriers to entry of new renewable energy technologies by funding research on emerging technologies and supporting development of renewable energy projects.