Xcel Energy’s leadership in wind energy reached another milestone recently as the American Wind Energy Association named the company the country’s top utility wind energy provider for the 12th consecutive year.“It’s an honor to lead the nation in wind energy for a dozen years running,” said Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy chairman, president and CEO. “It reflects our company’s commitment to clean energy and the environment, while providing customers with the renewable energy options they want.”
Xcel Energy more than doubled its wind ownership when it acquired the Pleasant Valley Wind Farm in Minnesota and Border Wind Farm in North Dakota last year. Along with purchasing energy from new wind farms in Colorado and New Mexico, the company increased its wind capacity 850 megawatts, or 15 percent, companywide in 2015.Xcel Energy will add another 400 megawatts of wind to the system in 2016, by buying power from the Odell Wind Farm in Minnesota and owning the Courtenay Wind Farm in North Dakota, when the plants are completed this year.
“Investing in wind energy is very beneficial for our company and our customers, as prices today are competitive with new natural gas generation,” Fowke said. “With our improved forecasting tools and other operational improvements, we have been able to efficiently integrate higher levels of wind energy into our system and deliver even greater value to our customers.”Xcel Energy has saved customers more than $60 million in fuel costs through the end of 2015 by working to improve wind forecasting accuracy by nearly 35 percent.
The company’s increased wind capacity and ongoing operational improvements have resulted in significant system milestones. In October 2015, Xcel Energy set a company record in Colorado by providing more than 54 percent of customers’ energy for 24 hours.