Minnesota now gets over 17% of its electricity from wind
energy. That’s great news for all Minnesotans. We can all benefit from lower electricity
costs. Across the Midwest, low-cost wind energy is a smart choice.
Wind has become one of the most affordable sources of
electricity generation, which keeps more money in your pocket and helps keep
costs low for businesses. In fact, wind power’s price has dropped 66
percent in the last 6 years due to siting and technology improvements. Utilities in Minnesota are investing in
renewables for multiple reasons. Their
customers are demanding more renewables, but it’s cost effective, too. Xcel Energy, the largest electric utility in
Minnesota, has found that wind is the cheapest way
to provide electricity for its customers. Xcel Energy has
announced it will invest in enough wind farms to power more than 750,000
homes over the next 15 years because it is a great value for their customers.
Xcel Energy isn’t the only electric utility that is
investing in low-cost wind farms. Minnesota Power announced
in 2016 that it will invest in 300MW of wind energy, adding to the 625 MW of
wind it already has. “We’re serving customers with a more balanced set of power
sources, including more wind and solar while retaining critical baseload power,
and doing so in a way that protects customers, the communities we serve and the
quality of life in our region,” said Minnesota Power/ALLETE Chairman, President
and CEO Alan R. Hodnik.
Great River Energy, which provides energy to 28 Minnesota’s
electric co-ops, announced
in January 2017 it will add 65 percent more wind energy to its system, totaling
over 700MW. “We are on track to meet our renewable energy targets. Our
portfolio is getting cleaner,” stated
Great River Energy CEO David Saggau. “Wind is becoming the new baseload.” Because
of wind energy’s low cost, utilities want to use wind energy first, and use
other sources to fill in the gaps. The
message is clear: electric providers in Minnesota are increasingly adding wind
to power their systems in a way that helps their bottom line, and protects
Because of the electric grid system, low-cost wind from the
Midwest can provide benefits across the country, too. Early in 2014, wind power saved
consumers $1 billion over just two days across the Great Lakes and
Mid-Atlantic states during the “polar vortex.” And, our regional grid operator
that, “wind [is] one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on the
system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers and the end-use
consumer.” It’s simple: wind energy is one of the least-cost sources of
electricity generation. Because wind has no fuel cost, its low cost can be
locked in for 20-30 years. This protects consumers from price fluctuations that
can occur with other fuels. By keeping
more money in consumer’s pockets and protecting them from spikes in their
electric bill, it’s clear that wind energy is a smart choice.
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