The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 15, 2014

New wind plants smart for Xcel

I’m writing regarding your June 6 coverage of Xcel’s proposed rate increase.

Specifically, the article says that Xcel’s rate hike is necessary to pay for new wind energy and increase output from its two nuclear plants.

While new wind energy investments are part of the rationale, they are not a significant driver of the rate increases. The article inaccurately characterizes wind as expensive when Xcel Energy states that wind is cost effective and has kept rates down.

On page 19 of officially-filed testimony, Xcel witness David Sparby provides a pie chart of what expenses are driving the rate increase request. New wind plants comprise only 6 percent of the total revenue needs, ranking seventh out of 10 expenses shown. The investment category “New Wind Plants” ranks behind categories for “Technology,” “Sales Forecast,” and “Other.”

New wind plants are not a major driver for this rate increase request.

Additionally, in the same testimony, Sparby states that “It would further be inconsistent with state energy policy to reduce or discontinue our investments in renewable resources — particularly at a time when those resources, such as wind, are more cost-effective than ever.”

New wind plants are a smart investment for Xcel Energy that will keep rates low in the future.

Will Nissen

St. Paul

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