US wind industry news : Xcel Energy, a US electric utility company has secured the approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas to move ahead with its plan to add 1.23GW of new wind energy.
As part of the plan, Xcel Energy will build and own two wind farms in the states of Texas and New Mexico – the 478MW Hale wind project near Plainview, Texas and the 522MW Sagamore wind project near Portales in New Mexico.
Last month, New Mexico regulators had approved Xcel Energy’s plans to add the two new wind generation projects. The US electric utility company said that the plan approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas includes production and savings guarantees to its customers. Further, it said that the plan has the backing of several consumer groups, state agencies and environmental groups.
David Hudson – president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas, commenting on the approval of the Hale wind project and the Sagamore wind project, said: “We’re grateful for the support of our community partners, who recognized the significant savings these new wind facilities will achieve. Their input was invaluable as they worked with us over the past year to fine tune this plan.
“The new wind farms will help power a growing regional economy with clean energy while providing the lowest-cost generating resource on our system. Not only will these wind farms save customers money, but they’ll also preserve precious water resources and spur regional economic activity.”
Xcel Energy has also been granted approval to buy additional wind power via long-term contract from wind farms in Texas. The US electric utility company said that as there are no fuel costs involved with wind generation, these wind farms will help in delivering savings in hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs through 30 years by removing higher cost generation that would otherwise come from the region’s conventional power plants.
Further, the Hale wind project and the Sagamore wind project to be built by Xcel Energy will be eligible for 100% of the federal production tax credit, the benefits of which will be totally passed on to its regional consumers, said the company.
Xcel Energy estimates that the average monthly fuel savings for residential customers could be nearly $2 starting from 2021 after both the Hale wind project and the Sagamore wind project enter into operations.
Construction on the Hale wind project is slated to begin in June while the Sagamore wind project is to break ground in 2019. The two new Xcel Energy wind farms will generate enough wind power to cover around 360,000 homes.
Xcel Energy also expects to create nearly 600 construction jobs and 40-50 full-time roles for the construction and operations of the Hale wind project and the Sagamore wind project which will both be constructed by Wanzek Construction.
Apart from the approvals for the plan to build the Hale wind project and the Sagamore wind project, Xcel Energy has also got the regulatory nod to buy 230MW of wind energy from wind farms in Cochran and Crosby counties in Texas from NextEra Energy Resources through the Bonita power purchase agreement.
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