Utilities say CapX2020 transmission project prompting wind energy growth

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Utilities say CapX2020 transmission project prompting wind energy growth

November 30, 2017

Finished in late September after more than a decade of planning and construction, the 800-mile-long CapX2020 transmission project has prompted more than 3,600 megawatts of clean energy project proposals, according to Xcel Energy.

While not all the proposals are likely to be approved by regulators, the flood of applications represents the tangible impact of CapX2020 in moving electrons from windier parts of the Midwest to dense population centers to the east.

“There’s a high preponderance of generators in the interconnection queues which are wind developers, with some solar, too,” said Teresa Mogensen, senior vice president for transmission at Xcel Energy, the utility which, along with Great River Energy, led the development.

A recently completed 70-mile stretch of CapX in South Dakota has resulted in proposals for nine wind projects and one natural gas plant together totaling more than 2,000 MW. One of those is the largest wind project in South Dakota’s history, Xcel Energy’s 600 MW Crown Ridge.

Developers have submitted plans for 10 wind projects totaling 1,900 MW on another segment from Brookings, South Dakota to Hampton, Minnesota. More projects are expected to come from North Dakota, too.

The high level of interest does not surprise Wind on The Wires executive director Beth Soholt, an early supporter of CapX.

“It’s a big deal,” she said. “It’s created a road to market for wind, allowed benefits to accrue to communities where wind can be developed.”

Fresh Energy, which publishes Midwest Energy News, is a member of Wind on the Wires and was involved in advocating for the project.

The line allows greater flexibility to bring large volumes of wind energy onto the grid when it is available, a key to incorporating more renewable energy into the marketplace, she added.

SOURCE:  Midwest Energy News

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