wind turbines along a dirt road in a field at sunset

The Power of Wind

by Keely Cervantes,
Regional Manager - East Metro

Conservation Minnesota’s field team members used to spend our days much more, well, in the field. While the pandemic has moved all of our community meetings to Zoom, the literal fields of greater Minnesota and the US have been teeming with activity. Last month Xcel Energy announced they’d become one of the first energy providers in the United States to bring 10,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity online. The company is on track to complete the nation’s largest multi-state wind investment this year and will accomplish that with the addition of 10 new wind projects in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and the Upper Midwest.

As we aim to make renewable energy more of the country’s—and Minnesota’s—energy portfolio, it’s encouraging to hear that Xcel Energy will have more than 31% of its energy capacity from wind alone. The company claims its new wind projects will save customers money in the coming decades, as they aim to deliver on an ambitious and necessary goal of 100% carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050. The renewable energy projects already completed have created hundreds of operations and maintenance jobs, as well as thousands of construction jobs.

Because Xcel Energy has the largest wind expansion in the Upper Midwest, its projects plan to double the amount of wind on its regional system. Xcel Energy will do this by adding more megawatts of new projects and rebuilding aging projects with new technology. Nearly 65% of its Upper Midwest energy will be carbon-free by the end of 2021, with about 30% of that derived from wind energy.

With ever increasing severe winter storms and unpredictable summers, the addition of this renewable energy to the grid is welcome news. The aggressive carbon-free electricity goals will hopefully stem the tide of climate change and bring us a more sustainable future, goals we support and are looking to advance at the state legislature. We look forward to seeing companies like Xcel Energy aim for the best in renewable advancements to the benefit of us all.