What is Wind Power?

We live in beautiful Colorado and have been watching a growing number of wind turbines being installed along I-25. The boys love watching them grow larger and larger as we approach them driving down the highway.

These wind turbines are humungous!!! Then the question comes, “Mom, what are they windmills for and why are they here?”

Me, being the non-scientific person that I am, answers with a very vague answer … you know, just enough for them to think for a second and carry on fighting with eachother. The next time we drive past them and they ask, because you know they will, I am going to shock them with a pretty solid answer! And I will shock myself with an answer more than, “They are provide wind energy”. I am correct but it is so basic and I actually wanted to learn more about it for myself and why there are so many being erected in Colorado.

It looks like they are about to add some more, I saw these just the other day …

What is wind powerWell, here are some answers to some of my questions {and my boys’ questions} which also might be yours as well…

Here are some facts about Xcel Energy:

Xcel Energy holds a record. On October 31, 2014 at 11 p.m., wind power was supplying 61.12% of the power on our system in Colorado.

Xcel Energy has nearly 5,300 megawatts of wind on our system, enough to power nearly 2.7 million average-size homes annually.

Xcel Energy has been working with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, since late 2008, to develop a highly-detailed wind-forecasting system. By improving our ability to predict the wind, we have saved our customers about $46 million in fuel costs.

What is Windsource?

Windsource® enables Xcel Energy’s electric customers to purchase renewable energy, generated above and beyond the renewable energy in our standard energy supply. The program offers customers a choice on how they want to use energy. Windsource customers pay a small premium in return for the environmental attributes of the renewable energy, giving them the right to make the claim that they are powered by renewable energy.

Business customers can use their Windsource participation toward LEED certification points, as well as displaying an overall green sensibility and respect for the environment. Windsource currently operates in five of Xcel Energy’s eight states: Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Windsource is one of the nation’s leading voluntary green power programs. In June, 2013 NREL recognized the program as the fifth largest program in the nation, in terms of sales volume (390 GWh) and third in terms of number of participants (61,315, including the RET) based on 2012 results. In 2012, the program sold its 1 Billionth kilowatt-hour (kWh) of renewable energy in Minnesota. In 2013, Windsource marked its 2 Billionth kWh of sales in Colorado.


How does one enroll with the Xcel Energy Windsource program?

Residential electric customers can call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-4999 or visit ResponsibleByNature.com/Windsource to enroll.

Business electric customers can contact their account manager or call their Business Solutions Center at 1-800-481-4700.

Subscription Amounts:

Customers choose how much of their energy they’d like to get from Windsource.

They can start with one block per month, which is the equivalent of 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or about enough electricity to power the lights in a typical home for a month*. (The cost per block varies by state.)

They can also choose to get 100% of their energy from Windsource.

The money received from Windsource customers is used to purchase wind energy.

The premium shows up on the customer’s monthly energy bill.

*Lighting Calculation: Based on home with 42 light sockets, using a mix of CFLs, LEDs and incandescent bulbs.

As the program grows, more wind energy will be added to Xcel Energy’s electric system/grid to meet the needs of Windsource customers.


For more information on Xcel Energy’s Windsource program, feel free to click the below links

For those who would like to learn more about the actual wind turbines: Virtual Wind Farm Tour (part of a free, online Energy Classroom)

Xcel Energy’s Connect Blog (content differs by state)

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.