Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy said today it will distribute nearly $23 million from its Renewable Development Fund to 22 separate projects. As decided by an advisory board consisting of representatives from the company, its customers, environmental groups and the Prairie Island Indian Community, more than $8 million will go into five projects that will generate renewable power, while over $14 million will go into research and development of 17 clean energy proposals. The projects and research are all over the cleantech board, including wind, hydroelectric, solar, biomass and biofuel technologies.
Xcel has doled out over $52 million to renewable energy projects since the fund’s creation in 1999. Each year since 2003 the company transfers $16 million to the Renewable Development Fund in accordance with a state statute.
Xcel also worked with the state legislature to create the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, which became law in February of this year, and requires 25 percent of Minnesotan electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025. The Minnesota House of Representatives put together a great report in November of 2006, presumably while discussing passage of their RES, documenting the RPS and RES programs that were already in place in 23 other states and the District of Columbia.
The energy that will be generated from the projects unveiled today — four photovoltaic projects and one methane cogeneration plant using gas from sugar-beet processing — will be sold, either directly or back to Xcel. This has yet to be determined because all of the projects are still awaiting approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
A complete list of the power and R&D projects are available on the press release. Earth2Tech spoke with Xcel this morning, who expects that the projects will be passed. “We expect [the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission] to make a decision by this spring,” Xcel manager of regulatory administration Debra Paulson told us. “They have never denied any of our projects in the past.”