Xcel Energy announced deals this week that will boost its use of wind power in the Upper Midwest by 33 percent, demonstrating that wind is increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels, even natural gas.
The Minneapolis-based utility is buying into three 200-megawatt wind farm projects, enough to power 180,000 homes, saying they will save its customers $180 million over 20 years. Xcel already has 1,800 megawatts of wind capacity up and running in the region, but it’s hungry for more. From an Xcel press release:
“Wind prices are extremely competitive right now, offering lower costs than other possible resources, like natural gas plants,” said [Xcel official Dave] Sparby. “These projects offer a great hedge against rising and often volatile fuel prices.”