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Xcel Proposes Wind Deal

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In a filing with state utility regulators Thursday, Xcel Energy is proposing to partner with a Florida company in building a 200 megawatt wind farm near the eastern Colorado town of Limon.  If the proposal is approved by the Public Utilities Commission, Xcel Energy would buy the wind power from Next Era Energy, an alternative energy and natural gas company that plans to build the wind farm. 

Xcel Energy attorney Laura Connelly says the current federal tax credits for wind production are allowing companies like Next Era to sell wind power at up to a 40% discount.  So this, she says, is a good window.

"There’s a lot of pessimism in the wind industry as to whether or not this congress is going to extend these credits at the end of 2012 given the recent debate that we witnessed over the debt ceiling and other debates that have been going on about the federal budget," Connelly said. 


Connelly says the new wind farm proposal was originally offered to the city of Boulder, but negotiations there broke down when the city council rejected the deal.  Boulder and Xcel have been at loggerheads lately as the city considers starting its own utility.

"This very, very low cost wind is a deal that we don’t want to lose for Colorado," Connelly said.

If the proposal is approved by the PUC, Xcel says it hopes construction on the wind farm will begin early next year.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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