MINNEAPOLIS, July 30 (UPI) -- Xcel Energy, the No. 1 wind-powered electricity producer in the United States, said Tuesday it will increase its capacity 30 percent in the coming years.
The Minneapolis company said in a release extremely competitive prices and the extended federal Production Tax Credit allow it to significantly bulk up its wind-powered generating capabilities.
"Wind energy is a valuable, low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels right now," Ben Fowke, the utility's chairman, president and chief executive, said. "These projects will lower customer costs by at least $800 million over their lives and will provide a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices for well into the future."
Xcel said it has submitted proposals to state regulators in its service area to buy at least 1,500 megawatts of wind resources. If approved, it would mean more than one-fifth of Xcel's energy will come from wind power.
The addition, along with previous conservation, renewable energy and power plant improvement projects, means Excel is on track to reduce its carbon emissions by 28 million tons, or more than 31 percent, by 2020, the company said.
"These projects demonstrate how to do environmental leadership the right way," Fowke said. "Both economic and environmental benefits can and should be achieved."