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Xcel Energy Submits IRP to Provide Path to Achieve 100 Percent Carbon-free Energy by 2050

LCG, July 9, 2019--Northern States Power Company, doing business as Xcel Energy, submitted its 2020-2034 Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on July 1. Xcel Energy (Xcel) states that the IRP "charts the path toward achieving some of the most ambitious carbon reduction goals of any utility in the U.S. Specifically - we aim to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030, and provide 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050."

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Interest in Eastern Offshore Wind Projects Rising

LCG, July 5, 2019--Two bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate last week to extend the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind energy. Federal subsidies, together with offshore wind technology advances and states' plans to increase renewables, may spur rapid investments in offshore wind.

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Industry News

Wyoming Commission Approves Settlement Agreement for PacifiCorp Wind Expansion

LCG, April 18, 2018--The The Wyoming Public Service Commission last Thursday approved a settlement agreement between PacifiCorp, the Wyoming Industrial Energy Consumers, the Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate and the Interwest Energy Alliance on the new wind and transmission portions of PacifiCorp's Energy Vision 2020 proposal. The commission also approved the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCNs) that are needed for construction of the Wyoming-based wind and transmission projects.
Pending approval from other state commissions, acquisition of rights of way, and receipt of permits, construction on the wind and transmission projects is expected to start in 2019.

The approved settlement includes three new Wyoming wind projects that will provide a total 1,150 MW of new electric generating capacity, which represents a nearly 60 percent expansion of PacifiCorp's current owned and contracted wind fleet. Also included in the agreement is a 140 mile high-voltage transmission line in Wyoming that will increase capacity to deliver wind power to PacifiCorp's transmission system. However, as part of the settlement agreement, a previously announced 161 MW wind project in Uinta County, Wyoming will no longer be included in the initiative. PacifiCorp also agreed to additional customer protections in the event of cost overruns as part of the agreement.

In addition to the new wind projects and transmission line, the company's Energy Vision 2020 initiative would upgrade, or "repower," the company's existing wind fleet in Wyoming, Washington and Oregon with longer blades and newer technology to boost output and extend the life of the projects. Approval of the repowering plan is being considered separately by the Wyoming commission and still pending. Components of the plan also are still awaiting state regulatory approval in Utah, Oregon and Idaho.

The Energy Vision 2020 projects were identified in the company's 2017 Integrated Resource Plan as the most cost-effective option to meet customers' energy needs over the next 20 years. The Energy Vision 2020 initiative was designed to: (i) upgrade or "repower" the company's existing wind fleet with longer blades and newer technology, (ii) add approximately 1,100 MW of new wind capacity, and (iii) build the new 140-mile Gateway West transmission. Most of the new investments will be in Wyoming.

Rocky Mountain Power first announced the wind and transmission investments in April 2017 as part of its broader long-term energy plan. The company submitted filings for the plan last summer in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho to state regulators. By acting to complete the projects by 2020, the company expects to use federal production tax credits to provide a net cost savings to customers over the life of the projects.
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