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Inside Track

A look at what’s behind today's Minnesota business headlines.

Mortenson gets the nod for $740M Xcel wind project in Colorado

Golden Valley-based Mortenson has been selected by Xcel Energy to build a new $740 million wind farm in Colorado, one of Mortenson’s largest renewable energy projects to date.

Mortensen will build the Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project, a 500-megawatt capacity wind farm on about 100,000 acres in eastern Colorado. Mortenson, a multi-purpose builder whose projects include U.S. Bank Stadium, is one of the nation’s largest wind energy construction firms.

Mortenson also built Xcel’s 600-megawatt Rush Creek wind farm in Colorado, which is both Minneapolis-based Xcel’s and Mortenson’s largest completed wind project. Rush Creek went online late last year.

In Minnesota, privately-held Mortenson has constructed several wind farms and is currently working on Xcel’s Blazing Star I, a 200-megawatt project near Hendricks in southwestern Minnesota. Colorado and Minnesota are Xcel's two largest service areas and both states are national leaders in wind power production.

A megawatt is one million watts, and 500 megawatts of generation capacity ­-- Cheyenne Ridge’s size -- is on par with the size of a coal or large gas-fired power plant, except that wind farms can only produce power intermittently.

The Cheyenne Ridge wind farm is expected to be completed by December 2020. Turbines for the project will be supplied by Vestas, a major wind power equipment maker based in Denmark.

US Bank makes first acquisition with new chief digital officer

U.S. Bank has acquired Talech, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based software company that provides point of sale services for small- and medium-sized companies.

Talech point-of-sale system is primarily for restauranteurs, retailers and service businesses. Among its functions the software can develop a digital map of a restaurants tables to aid in ordering and payments, manage a retailer’s inventory or schedule guests at salons and other service companies.

 “Small businesses are a focal point for us as we transform how U.S. Bank engages with customers and how our customers interact with their money, making it easy for them to make decisions at the moment they come into contact with our technology,” said Derek White, chief digital officer at U.S. Bank in a statement.

Derek White, chief digital officer of U.S. Bank (photo courtesy of U.S. Bancorp)

Talech which was founded in 2012 has 86 employees and serves more than 8,000 clients and processes approximately $2.3 billion worth of transactions. It is a business that U.S. Bancorp is familiar with. Elavon, a U.S. Bank subsidiary, has sold talech’s services for the past five years.

Talech will be added to U.S. Bancorp’s newly formed Digital team led by White. The team provides digital services for small and medium sized companies including software that helps process payments, provides other eCommerce functions, and runs customer loyalty and gift card programs.

White was hired in April of this year to lead the enterprise-wide digital strategies of U.S. Bancorp. Prior to joining U.S. Bancorp White was the global head of client solutions with BBVA, a multinational banking group based in Spain. The Talech acquisition is the first deal done under White for the new Digital team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed