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The recent "Midwest Wind Integration Study," which was required by the Minnesota legislature in 2005 to evaluate reliability and other impacts of higher levels of wind generation, found that the total integration cost for up to 25% wind energy delivered to all Minnesota customers is $0.045 per kWh of wind generation.

This study, which was carried out independently by Knoxville, Tenn.-based EnerNex Corp. and St. Paul, Minn.-headquartered WindLogics, is the latest in a series that examines how utilities can manage larger amounts of wind power on their systems. For instance, it evaluated the reliability and costs associated with increasing wind capacity to 15%, 20% and 25% of Minnesota retail electric energy sales by 2020.

According to J. Charles Smith, the Utility Wind Integration Group's executive director, "What this study provides is insight into how such levels can also be accommodated here in the U.S., and the conclusion is clear: under good system conditions such as those in the MISO service territory, wind energy can be readily integrated into the utility system."

"The Minnesota study shows that, when the wind generation is spread around the state, and MISO markets and operators do what they do best, integration costs are a small concern," adds Mike Jacobs, the American Wind Energy Association's deputy policy director.

"The Midwest Wind Integration Study," along with other studies, can be viewed at www.uwig.org

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