Xcel hits Upper Midwest wind power record

Source: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune Updated: March 19, 2013 • Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013

The utility normally gets about 12 percent of its power from regional wind farms. But one night last month, the wind share hit nearly a third.

Xcel Energy Inc., the nation’s No. 1 wind-power utility, said Tuesday it set a record for wind generation in the Upper Midwest.

The utility said regional wind farms generated a record 1,713 megawatts from 7 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 17, representing nearly 33 percent of demand at the time. Xcel serves 1.7 million electric customers in five Midwestern states.

The output is just short of the Minneapolis-based utility’s total wind-generation capacity in Minnesota. It follows the addition of 267 megawatts of wind-power capacity last year in the state.

Winds were exceptional on the day the record was set and also on the next day, boosting the output at the utility’s owned and contracted wind farms, said Laura McCarten, a regional vice president for Xcel.