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Xcel Energy updates proposal to acquire 2 wind farms in Minnesota

Xcel Energy Inc. is requesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approve a restructured form of the company's May 13 application to purchase the 50-MW Jeffers Wind and 30-MW Community Wind North projects from Longroad Energy Holdings LLC.

Under the previous application, which FERC approved on July 17, Xcel Energy subsidiary Northern States Power Co. - Minnesota will acquire the wind facilities. (FERC docket EC19-89)

Under the new application filed Oct. 18, an indirect subsidiary of Xcel Energy that is yet to be formed will purchase the wind projects, and Northern States Power will continue to receive the output of the projects under 20-year contracts. This approach allows Xcel Energy shareholders, not Northern States Power ratepayers, to bear acquisition-related risks, the company said. (FERC docket EC20-11)

The restructured application intends to facilitate the purchase of the wind farms in case the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rejects the previous proposal.

"Xcel Energy is confident that the project companies would be beneficial acquisitions regardless of whether they are owned by [Northern States Power] or a different subsidiary of Xcel Energy," the company said in its application to FERC.

The new proposal also involves a multi-step process which includes Longroad Energy subsidiary Mission Community Wind North LLC, which currently owns 49% of the governance interests in Community Wind North, acquiring the remaining 51% interest from Norgaard Community Turbines LLC.

FERC is requested to approve the new proposal by Dec. 17 to allow Longroad Holdings to secure financing for the repowering of the two wind projects in time for the target commercial operation date in 2020.