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Xcel Energy Expands Plans to Add Wind Farm Capacity to 3,380 MW

LCG, March 23, 2017--Xcel Energy yesterday announced plans to make the largest multi-state investment in wind capacity in the country. The proposed plan is expected to increase the amount of wind energy in the Xcel's energy mix by 2021, with wind fueling nearly 35 percent of its total energy mix.

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First Solar Starts Operations of the 250-MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project

LCG, March 22, 2017--First Solar, Inc. Friday held the commissioning ceremony for the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, located approximately 30 miles north of Las Vegas on the Moapa River Indian Reservation. The power generated by the 250-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project will be purchased under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power(LADWP).

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Industry News

Southwest Power Pool Sets Wind Penetration Record of 52.1 Percent

LCG, February 15, 2017--Southwest Power Pool (SPP) announced earlier this week that it achieved a wind-penetration record of 52.1 percent at 4:30 a.m., February 12, when it became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) in North America to serve over 50 percent of its electric demand at a given time with wind energy. SPP set the previous RTO record of 49.2 percent on April 24, 2016.

The installed wind farm capacity and wind power generation in the SPP region has grown dramatically. Since the turn of the century, SPP's installed wind capacity has grown from a few hundred MW's to becoming the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region. Wind capacity provided approximately 15 percent of SPP's generating capacity in 2016, exceeded only by natural gas and coal. Installed wind capacity increased in 2016 by 4,000 MW - from 12,000 MW to over 16,000 MW, and SPP's maximum simultaneous wind generation peak rose from 9,948 MW in 2015 to 12,336 MW in early 2016.

In concert with the installation of new wind farms, SPP has approved the construction of over 10 billion dollars in high-voltage transmission infrastructure over the last decade, with much of the construction designed to connect rural, isolated Midwestern wind farms to population centers hundreds of miles away.

SPP's Vice President of Operations stated, "Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability. Since then, we've gained experience and implemented new policies and procedures. Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent wind penetration. It's not even our ceiling. We continue to study even higher levels of renewable, variable generation as part of our plans to maintain a reliable and economic grid of the future."

SPP's President and CEO said, "It's exciting to see the evolution of our efforts to maintain a reliable power grid. It allows for very different generation patterns than we've historically experienced. But for new day-ahead unit commitment procedures and market processes for managing congestion across a single balancing authority in fourteen states, these new records would not be possible."
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