Xcel Energy said Wednesday it plans to build another new large wind farm in South Dakota, adding to a slew of wind projects it has announced within the last year.
Minneapolis-based Xcel, the nation’s largest wind-energy utility for more than a decade, is planning a 300-megawatt wind farm in Grant and Codington counties in northeast South Dakota. The project is expected to go online in 2021.
A year ago, Xcel unveiled plans for eight to 10 new wind farms totaling 1,550 megawatts, a $2 billion investment. (A megawatt is 1 million watts). With the South Dakota wind-energy plant announced Wednesday, Xcel said it’s on track to become the first U.S. utility to surpass 10,000 megawatts of wind-energy generation, more than enough to power every home in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“This is a milestone for our industry and our customers,” Xcel CEO Ben Fowke said in a statement.
Four other wind farms that Xcel has announced within the last year will be in southern Minnesota, two in Lincoln County and one each in Pipestone and Freeborn counties.
The Freeborn wind project will extend into Iowa. Also, Xcel plans on two new wind-energy plants in North Dakota, and a particularly large project — 600 megawatts — in eastern South Dakota.
By contrast, Xcel’s coal-fired and nuclear energy plants in Minnesota have a capacity of 510 to 680 megawatts, though they can produce power constantly, not intermittently like wind and solar.
The company says the new 300-megawatt South Dakota project would be the first publicly announced U.S. wind facility to go forward under the phase down of federal tax credits.
New wind projects announced last year — and there were a lot of them — could qualify for a full 30 percent federal tax credit based on energy production. The tax credit of the new Xcel wind farm is 80 percent of that received by projects announced last year by the company.
The South Dakota wind project unveiled Wednesday will be developed by Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy. Xcel will own the wind-energy plant, part of a trend toward direct ownership by the utility. Historically, Xcel and other utilities have primarily bought power on long-term contracts from owners of wind farms.