Xcel Energy proposes buying hydropower from Manitoba

U.S. utility Xcel Energy proposes to buy nearly 375 MW of hydropower from Canada’s Manitoba Hydro as part of a plan to meet baseload energy needs of its customers in Minnesota and the upper Midwest.

In a Nov. 1 filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Xcel proposed filling a 375-MW shortfall in baseload power, projected for 2015, by purchasing 375 MW from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2015, and buying or building 380 MW of wind generation, to be available before 2016.

Xcel said the wind resources would complement the Manitoba Hydro purchase, which it said would be about 95 percent from hydropower. Together the resources could provide the same level of reliability as a new 375-MW coal-fired plant, but at a lower cost and with less effect on the environment.

Xcel said the proposed package is the best path — from an environmental, economic, and reliability standpoint — to meet the increasing needs of its electricity customers in the Upper Midwest.

Under a new PUC resource acquisition process, other power producers can propose competing projects by Dec. 18. The commission then will determine whether Xcel’s plan, or a rival proposal, would best provide reliable, least-cost, and environmentally sound energy and capacity.

The PUC said power producers wanting to propose competing projects should contact Elizabeth Engelking, Manager, Resource Planning, Xcel Energy, (1) 612-330-7987, E-mail: elizabeth.m.engelking@xcelenergy.com, for a �terms sheet� for compiling comparable information.

Proposals may be submitted to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Attention: Burl Haar, Executive Secretary, 121 7th Place E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-2147, and should refer to the document number for Xcel Energy’s application, E002/CN-06-1518.

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