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Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy's plans to develop 351 MW of wind power in Minnesota and North Dakota are moving ahead, following key approvals by regulators in both states.

The approvals are for the 201 MW Nobles Wind Project in southwestern Minnesota's Nobles County and the 150 MW Merricourt Wind Project in Dickey and McIntosh counties in southeastern North Dakota.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission recently determined that both projects are prudent additions to Xcel Energy's generation system, and it also granted a certificate authorizing the Merricourt project. In June, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission allowed Xcel Energy to include both projects in its plan to meet the state's renewable portfolio standard.

The next steps are for enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, which is developing the projects, to obtain site permits from the Minnesota commission for the Nobles project and the North Dakota commission and affected counties for the Merricourt project.

The Nobles and Merricourt projects are on schedule to be operational by the end of 2010 and 2011, respectively. Once developed, project ownership will be transferred to NSP-Minnesota.

SOURCE: Xcel Energy


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