March 28, 2014
In a ground-breaking decision, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ruled in favor of solar as a cost-competitive energy source for Minnesota-based Xcel Energy. On the heels of a long competitive resource acquisition process, Geronimo Energy's Aurora Solar Project was selected by the PUC to fill a portion of Xcel's future generation needs.
"We are very pleased to have been part of this unique process and to show that solar energy can be a cost competitive and reliable part of the energy mix," said Geronimo Energy President, Blake Nixon.
"This is a big win for us, as well as for the larger solar energy industry," Betsy Engelking, Vice President of Geronimo Energy, states. "The Aurora project competed with a number of natural gas plants and in the end, the Commission found that our project was a cost competitive part of the overall solution and would help Xcel Energy meet Minnesota's energy policy goals."
The PUC's decision comes after a historic recommendation to adopt the Aurora Solar Project as a first source of fulfillment for Xcel's resource needs made by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Eric L. Lipman in December 2013. In his report, ALJ Lipman stated, "the greatest value to Minnesota and Xcel's ratepayers is drawn from selecting Geronimo's solar energy proposal."
The Aurora Solar Project is a 100 megawatt (MW) distributed solar generation project that will utilize solar arrays ranging in size from 2 MW to 10 MW across Xcel's service territory. The project will interconnect to multiple Xcel Energy substations across Minnesota and will provide energy and capacity for the local distribution network. This unique design will deliver many benefits, including a reduction in line loss, elimination of transmission costs, and geographic diversification of generation assets. Arrays will be located throughout 16 counties in Minnesota in order to bring energy to the grid efficiently and cost-effectively, while protecting the environment.
About Geronimo Energy
Geronimo Energy is a utility-scale wind and solar energy developer headquartered in Edina, Minnesota. Geronimo has developed three operating wind farms and several solar projects in Minnesota. Geronimo is poised to build six additional wind projects with an aggregate nameplate capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW) throughout the Midwest over the next two years and expects to build the 100 MW Aurora Solar Project in Minnesota, as well as other solar facilities nationwide, by 2016. Geronimo has a multi-gigawatt development pipeline of wind and solar projects in various stages of development throughout the United States. Geronimo has a strategic partnership with Enel Green Power North America, furthering its credibility and capital strength to deliver on projects for customers and communities.
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