Xcel Energy of Minnesota has received 76 proposals to fund wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass facilities, as well as research and development (R&D) activities. The proposals are the result of a solicitation the utility released in July to fulfil requirements of the state mandated Renewable Development Fund. This is the first solicitation relating to the fund, created in May 1999. State law requires Xcel to add $500,000 to the fund every year for each spent fuel storage container temporarily stored after January 1, 1999, at Xcel's Prairie Island nuclear plant near Red Wing, Minnesota. The fund has $16.5 million available, but it is growing by about $8.5 million every year. Xcel's Mary Sandok says 28 of the proposals are for renewable energy projects, while another 48 are for R&D, including demonstration, field testing, and fundamental research. An advisory board of representatives from the company and environmental organisations will evaluate the proposals and announce winners by November.