Pioneer Press

Wind energy leader Xcel Energy says it wants to try to take advantage of a newly extended federal tax credit to see if it can pick up additional wind energy for cheap, even if it doesn't need it immediately.

The Minneapolis-based utility told regulators in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin on Monday that it will seek proposals for up to 200 megawatts of wind resources by April 1.

The utility appears to hope to take advantage of what could be a buyer's market for wind this year.

Xcel must derive 30 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020, but it says it has no need for additional wind energy generation until 2017 at the earliest.

However, the production tax credit for wind energy, extended for one year on Jan. 2, offers a chance for developers to pitch their projects to Xcel this year.

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