Xcel Energy to invest $2.5bn in northern US

UNITED STATES: Developer Xcel Energy has pledged to support the development of 1.55GW of new wind capacity in four northern US states, as signs of a boom in the US continue.

Xcel Energy will support the construction of seven new projects in the US upper midwest

The utility said it wants to provide 63% of its energy from "carbon-free" resources by 2023.

Xcel will provide the support in a combination of developing 750MW of its own projects and signing power purchase agreements for a further 800MW.

The firm said its investment would allow 1.55GW of new wind energy to be installed, across seven projects in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. All projects could be online by 2020, said the company.

"Wind energy is at historically low prices right now, so we're able to reduce emissions while securing long-term cost savings for our customers," said Xcel Energy-Minnesota president Chris Clark.

Xcel said it currently owns four projects in the Upper Midwest of the US, with a fifth under construction.

The move comes following a wind rush at the end of 2016. Developers were taking advantage of the full production tax credit before phase-out begins from this year.

Almost 80% of the US's 8.2GW total in 2016 installations was from Q4 activity, the American Wind Energy Association said.

An expected 35GW of new capacity is expected online by 2020 in the US, creating 248,000 jobs, according to Navigant Consulting.