Nearly 80,000 homes will receive low-cost wind energy next year, thanks to a new Xcel Energy wind farm under construction in central North Dakota. The Foxtail Wind project spans 35,000 acres, and 99 percent of the land will be available for agricultural production.
Recently, the utility celebrated the construction of its newest 150 mW wind facility by inviting local landowners, company representatives, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and other state and local officials to a groundbreaking ceremony.
“We’re investing in North Dakota with Foxtail Wind and other projects that will provide millions of dollars in local lease payments and property taxes and deliver clean energy for our customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Xcel Energy is a national leader in wind energy, and this is a winning strategy for the customers and communities we serve.”
The project is part of a 1,850 MW portfolio of low-cost wind projects Xcel Energy is adding in the Upper Midwest over the next several years. This expands the company’s regional wind portfolio by 70 percent. The projects are expected to save customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs, according to the company.
“In North Dakota there is no shortage of wind, and when we can harness this natural force, it powers homes and communities, and creates thousands of jobs as part of a true-all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who successfully negotiated a deal in 2015 to provide a long-term extension of a wind energy tax credit. “
She said the groundbreaking ceremony reinforced what good could come from making necessary local and national investments in wind energy development. In 2015, she successfully negotiated a deal to provide a long-term extension of a wind energy credit. In turn, it has boosted wind energy development and jobs across the state, she says.
West Fargo-based Wanzek Construction, a subsidiary of MasTec, Inc., is building the project, installing the 75 concrete foundations this summer, and will erect the turbines and blades next year. The project will begin operating in late 2019.
“Wanzek is excited to begin construction on the Foxtail Wind Project, which will bring jobs and revenue to the local area. A significant amount of time and effort has gone into this project by all of the stakeholders involved to get to this point. As a North Dakota based company, we look forward to working on such a great project in our home state,” said Chris Fox, vice president of construction with Wanzek Construction.