From: Steve Raabe, The Denver Post
Published November 4, 2004 12:00 AM

Xcel Energy to Begin Reviewing Wind-Power Project Solicitations

Nov. 4—Xcel Energy said Wednesday it is reviewing bids for 17 new wind-power projects to get a head start on the renewable-energy mandate passed by Colorado voters.

Xcel, which opposed the initiative, solicited the wind-energy bids last month as part of its 10-year plan to ensure adequate power supplies for Colorado customers.

Xcel was seeking the wind power regardless of Amendment 37's outcome, but the projects, if selected, will help the utility fulfill the mandate, said spokesman Steve Roalstad.

"When you factor in our wind bids, we could be ahead of the curve," he said.

Xcel would not release bid details, but one of the bids is from Prairie Wind Energy LLC, which proposes an $82 million, 69-megawatt wind farm five miles south of Lamar.

The amendment requires Colorado's largest utilities to use renewable-energy sources such as wind, water and sun for 10 percent of their power sales by 2015. The mandate is phased, with 3 percent required by 2007 and 6 percent by 2011.

Xcel now uses renewables for about 4.4 percent of its power sales, meaning it has already met the 2007 requirement.

Aquila Inc., which supplies power to 90,000 customers in southern Colorado, said it's too early to calculate the impact of Amendment 37.

Spokesman Roger Kort said Aquila might use renewable-energy credits from its wind farm near Dodge City, Kan., to meet the Colorado requirement.

The mandate also applies to Intermountain Rural Electric Association, Holy Cross Electric, United Power, and municipally-owned utilities in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.

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