The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved four Xcel Energy wind farm projects in Minnesota and North Dakota that aim to dramatically increase wind power generation in the Upper Midwest, the Star Tribune reports.
The panel's Thursday vote allows Xcel to advance its projects in cooperation with two development companies, including Geronimo Energy of Edina.
Xcel didn’t disclose the cost of the projects, which ratepayers ultimately will pay, but the company says that customers eventually will save $225 million over life of the projects.
Xcel says that 12 percent of the power it produces comes from wind sources. The company operates three wind farms: the Grand Meadow and Nobles wind farms in Minnesota and the Ponnequin wind farm in Colorado.
Minnesota ranks No. 2 in the nation among states for wind power generation, WCCO reported.
A recent U.S. Department of Energy report noted that Minnesota can generate up to 17 percent of its electricity from the wind.
Despite record growth in the wind energy industry, wind accounts for only about 4 percent of U.S. power generation, according to the U.S. Energy Department.