Xcel Energy Inc. announced on Friday plans to develop 351 megawatts of new wind production by the end of 2011, enough to power about 110,000 homes, and to increase the utilitys wind resources more than 10 percent.The $900 million proposal contains a 201-megawatt project in southwest Minnesotas Nobles County, and a 150-megawatt project in the Dickey and McIntosh counties of southeastern North Dakota.

The Nobles Wind Project would be the states second largest — behind the 205-megawatt Fenton Wind Power project in Murray and Nobles counties, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The two new wind farms will bump up the renewable energy on the utilitys Minnesota system from about 15 percent to 17 percent of retail sales, as it works toward its state mandate of 30 percent renewables by 2020, the Minneapolis-based company calculated. The new wind would be added to the 3,000 megawatts throughout Xcels eight-state territory, including 1,200 in its Northern States Power subsidiary in the Upper Midwest.

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Xcels partner is enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, also its partner in the only other wind project Xcel owns, the 100-megawatt Grand Meadow site in development in southeastern Minnesota. EnXco also developed and owns Fenton Wind.

“”Xcel Energy already is the nations No. 1 wind power provider, and this agreement advances our commitment,”” said Xcel chief executive Richard C. Kelly.

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