Xcel Energy leads nation in wind energy

Source: By Ginna Roe, MMJ • Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015

Xcel Energy is named the number one wind power provider for the 11th consecutive year.

“Wind is becoming more and more important to us than ever,” Mike Herro, community service manager at Xcel explained.

The company holds nearly 6,000 megawatts of wind power.

That powers nearly 3 million homes.

It’s a resource that helps Xcel keep costs down for customers.

“If the price of natural gas or something like that goes way up, we can use these other fuels in the mix to provide economical power for our customers,” Herro said.

But you might be wondering why you’re not seeing any of these wind turbines in the La Crosse area.

“We don’t develop wind here because the wind doesn’t blow as hard here. So if you are going to develop wind you want to go where the wind blows to get the most out of that asset,” he said.

Most of the company’s wind farms are to the west of La Crosse or down south towards Iowa where the land is flatter.

Xcel isn’t the only local organization harvesting wind energy.

Wind is one of the many energy efficient generators Gundersen Health System uses.

“Today the economics of energy independence are pretty good. Especially energy efficiency. We spent $2 million in our first year of this program and we get 1.2 million dollars back a year,” Mark Platt, vice president of business service for Gundersen said.

As for wind farms popping up in the area, Xcel said don’t plan on it.

“I don’t anticipate us ever developing wind in the Coulee Region here for that reason. You really want to go where the wind is blowing best.”

The company does plan to add four new wind farms in the next couple years.