If it’s windy out in Nobles County, Minn., today, a lot of energy is being produced. That’s because the Nobles Wind Project is now online, with 134 1.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbines generating enough power to serve around 66,500 homes. Nobles was a joint venture of Xcel Energy and enXco, which put out the press release announcing that the 201-MW project was now supplying electricity to the regional transmission grid, but under their deal ownership now transfers to Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, a subsidiary of Xcel.
Xcel also owns the Grand Meadow wind power plant in southeastern Minnesota’s Mower County, and a third company-owned wind project, the 150-megawatt Merricourt Wind Project, is under development by enXco in southeastern North Dakota. All three of the projects – even the one in North Dakota – count toward meeting Minnesota’s renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent renewables by 2025.
One final note: When wind projects are announced, the companies involved inevitably tout the job-creating benefits. In the Nobles case, Xcel and enXco had said the project would result in 200 construction jobs and 400 jobs manufacturing the 262-foot-tall wind turbines and related equipment. What about now that the project is complete? According to Xcel, running the Nobles wind power plant adds 13 operation and maintenance positions to their payroll.
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