Xcel Energy has secured approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to add 750MW from four wind power projects on its Upper Midwest grid.

The four projects are the 200MW Courtenay wind farm in North Dakota; 200MW Odell wind farm in Minnesota; 200MW Pleasant Valley project in Minnesota; and 150MW Border Winds project in north central North Dakota.

The four projects, which are set to become operational by the end of 2015, represent a 42% increase in the company’s wind power capacity in the Upper Midwest.

Located in Stutsman County, North Dakota, Courtenay wind farm will feature up to 125 wind turbines spanning across 25,000 acres of leased land, while Odell Wind Farm located in Jackson, Watonwan and Cottonwood counties, Minnesota will include up to 125 wind turbines spanning across 34,000 acres of leased land.

In July 2013, Geronimo Energy signed two long-term purchase agreements with Xcel Energy for total output to be generated at these two projects.

The four projects represent a 42% increase in the company’s wind power capacity in the Upper Midwest."

RES America Developments will develop the remaining two projects, the Pleasant Valley project near Austin, Minnesota and Border Winds project in Rolette County in north central North Dakota, and will transfer the ownership to Xcel Energy when complete.

Northern States Power Company-Minnesota president and CEO Dave Sparby said that these projects will generate enough electricity to power approximately 200,000 homes, while saving customers more than $225m over the projects’ lives.

"At the same time, the projects will reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.5 million tonnes each year in our Upper Midwest territory, where we already are on track to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 from 2005 levels," said Sparby.

Image: Xcel Energy to add 750MW wind power capacity to the Upper Midwest grid. Photo: courtesy of Geronimo Energy.