SAN JOSE, Calif. In a major boost for proponents of alternative energy, General Electric and Xcel Energy Inc. separately announced major wind power projects for use in generating electricity.
Electricity from the largest wind power farm on Indian land has begun flowing into California's power grid thanks to a partnership between Babcock & Brown and GE Energy Financial Services.
GE invested $51 million in the 50-megawatt Kumeyaay Wind project near San Diego. Babcock & Brown will retain a substantial equity interest and remains the long-term manager of the project.
The wind farm comprises of 25 turbines that each can generate two megawatts of electricity. After eight months of construction and a month of testing, the turbines are feeding power into the San Diego Gas & Electric grid.
The Kumeyaay Wind farm annually will produce power sufficient for about 30,000 homes and will save approximately 110,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with equivalent fossil fuel generation. It will help San Diego Gas & Electric meet its target of supplying at least 20 percent of its customers' electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
The transaction is the second renewable energy investment in San Diego County by GE. The first, in April, was an investment in solar roofs covering 14 of the City's public schools.
Meanwhile, Xcel Energy said that it intends to acquire 775 megawatts of new wind power capacity for its Colorado system by 2007. The additional capacity would make Xcel the nation's largest utility user of wind power.
Xcel, which currently has 282 megawatts of wind in-service or under-construction in Colorado, plans to increase its overall wind capacity in the state by 275 percent.
The company operates in 10 states. It expects to have more than 1,100 megawatts of owned or purchased wind capacity on its system by early 2006, increasing to more than 2,300 megawatts of wind capacity by the end of 2007. This includes more than 1,000 megawatts each in Colorado and Minnesota.
Xcel cautioned that while it is aggressively seeking to add more wind power in Colorado, the ultimate success of permitting, constructing and placing new wind farms into commercial operation remains in the hands of independent wind developers.
The company also announced that it intends to acquire approximately 1,300 megawatts of natural gas-fired generation from new and existing facilities between 2007 and 2012.