Xcel reveals $2.5BN plan for 7 wind farms in Midwest – 4 of them in Minnesota

The utility wants 63 percent of its energy to come from carbon-free sources by 2030.

Minnesota is about to get a whole lot more wind turbines, with hundreds of them set to be installed through Xcel Energy's largest ever wind investment to date.

The utility announced Thursday it wants to spend $2.5 billion on seven wind farms across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa, consisting of more than 500 turbines that between them would provide enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes.

Minnesota is set to get four of these wind farms, with the total energy generated by all seven estimated at 1,550 megawatts.

And with the price of wind power dropping all the time, Xcel Minnesota President Chris Clark said it will deliver "long-term cost savings" to its customers as well as the company itself – with more than $4 billion in fuel and other costs expected to be saved over 25 years.

It's part of Xcel's ongoing move to generate 63 percent of its energy carbon-free by 2030.

It will also be a big boost for farmers who own the land where the turbines will be placed. They can expect to receive payments worth more than $150 million between them over the life of the turbines.

Here are where the wind farms will be built in Minnesota:

  • 200MW project (so roughly 100 turbines) project in Freeborn County, MN, and Worth and Mitchell Counties, IA. Developed by Invenergy.
  • Two 200MW projects in Lincoln County, Minnesota called Blazing Star 1 and 2, both developed by Geronimo Energy.
  • The Lake Benton Wind Project in Pipestone County, 100MW developed by NextEra Energy.

All of these projects are subject to regulatory approval but Xcel is hoping they will all be up and running by 2020.

The utility is pushing ahead with its renewable energy drive despite the Trump administration being expected to scrap the Clean Power Plan signed under the Obama presidency, which demands the nation's energy providers reduce CO2 emissions from their power stations by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels.

Xcel told GoMN that the reason for this is as much economic as it is environmental, with the cost of renewable energy consistently dropping as technology improves. It's expected to be on a par with or cheaper than fossil fuels by the mid-2020s.

It has said that there should be an increase in bills in the short-term because of the investment in renewable infrastructure, but long-term the wind farms should keep bills down.

Xcel's future in Minnesota isn't just renewable, though. Last month it was given approval to build a gas-fired plant at its Sherco facility in Becker, to replace the capacity it will lose when it closes down two units of its coal-fired power station by the mid-2020s.

Next Up

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.


When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.


Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.


Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.


Xcel sets sights on hitting wind energy milestone

In four years, it could have enough wind energy to power every home in Minnesota.

Xcel says Trump presidency won't stop plans for cleaner power in MN

Xcel Energy has pledged its plans to reduce carbon emissions in Minnesota will continue, no matter who is president.

Here's what Xcel Energy's plan for MN power plants means for you

Minnesota energy regulators are set to rule on Xcel Energy's plan to cut carbon emissions and boost renewable energy. Here's what it means.

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 11.00.15 AM

Xcel Energy to close its two remaining coal plants earlier than planned

The two Minnesota plants will close in 2028 and 2030, respectively.


Xcel Energy announces major drive to increase electric vehicles in MN

It aims to put 1.5 million EVs on roads in the eight states it covers by 2030.

A Minnesota college says it's getting all its power from the wind and sun

St. Olaf has a new wind power deal with Xcel Energy and says its electricity will be carbon free

Xcel plan gone with the wind

The Minneapolis-based utility says its wind energy plans are stalled with a tax credit set to expire. Xcel Energy is an industry leader in wind power, but officials say additional projects wouldn't be cost effective without tax subsidies. A national energy association predicts without the credit nearly 40 thousand jobs will be lost.