Minnesota regulators have approved four new wind energy projects.
The decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission means Xcel Energy can go ahead with two projects in southern Minnesota and two in North Dakota.
Xcel said it expects the North Dakota Public Service Commission to consider the two wind projects in that state by the end of the year.
The projects represent a 42 percent boost in the utility's wind capacity in the Upper Midwest. Once the turbines are on line, they're expected to produce 750 megawatts of electricity, enough to serve about 200,000 homes.
The projects will be able to take advantage of a federal tax credit for renewable electricity projects that begin construction by the end of this year. The wind turbines are expected to be in service by the end of 2015.
Xcel said wind power has proven to be a low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels and will help the company meet a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by the year 2020.