On May 7th, 2020, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission invited power providers to submit proposals that would aid in Minnesota’s economic recovery. Xcel Energy responded with a 7 wind repower project portfolio. In its proposal Xcel specified that these projects would utilize union labor creating nearly 700 union construction jobs across these 7 projects.
On December 23rd, 2020, Political and Regulatory Affairs Director Nathan Runke testified in support of approval of these projects on behalf of Local 49 at a hearing held by the Minnesota Public Utilities commission. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s ability to move forward with the project portfolio that day.
These projects include Grand Meadow repower projected to create 100 jobs in 2023. The Nobles repower projected to create 200 jobs in 2022-23. Pleasant Valley repower projected to create 200 jobs in 2024. The Ewington repower projected to create 20 jobs in 2021.
The portfolio also includes the Border Winds repower which is a North Dakota project that will create 150 jobs in 2024 in North Dakota. the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the cost recovery from Minnesota rate payers, but the North Dakota Public Service Commission still needs to approve the project and that is expected to come soon.
The Westridge repower, 10 jobs in 2022, and McNeilus repower, 40 jobs in 2022, PPA agreements were not able to be finalized at the time of the hearing. However, provisions to move forward with them if an agreement could be reached were stipulated in the Commission’s decision.
This is great news for Local 49 members. Because we are active in the regulatory process and politically mobilized, we are able to be at the table when these decisions are made and use our collective power to make the case that these jobs should go to local skilled union trades. We will continue to work tirelessly to create jobs for our members, and to ensure that energy or construction projects built in our jurisdiction are built by us.