Xcel completes $55M wind power projectby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The completion of a power line project in southwestern Minnesota means more wind power can reach the Twin Cities.
Xcel Energy has finished a $55 million project involving sub-stations and transmission lines to carry wind power from Buffalo Ridge to markets in the metro.
The construction started 10 years ago, and it boosts wind capacity from 260 megawatts to 1,200 megawatts -- enough to power about 300,000 homes.
Xcel's Kent Larson said the new and upgraded lines will connect with the proposed CapX line from Brookings South Dakota to the southwest metro.
"That will need to be built in the next few years to bring wind to the Twin Cities where our major loads are," Larson said.
Larson also said the final stage of the project was done a year ahead of schedule.
"So from a customer perspective it's positive," he said. "I know from a local perspective, a lot of the landowners feel good about us creating the ability to transfer more wind from that area up toward major loads, and also the wind developers were pleased to have it come in a year early."
The Public Utilities Commission has approved the Brookings line, with the requirement that it be dedicated to wind power.