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CONTACT: Patricia Van Gerpen, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, phone (605) 773-3201

Xcel Energy's CEO to keynote Wind Conference

Xcel Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Kelly will deliver the keynote address during a September 13 luncheon at 11:45 a.m. as part of the Regional Wind Conference at the Swiftel Center, Brookings, S.D. The event is hosted by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We're delighted to have Xcel Energy's Dick Kelly address the attendees," said South Dakota PUC Commissioner Dustin Johnson, who is the lead commissioner organizing the event. "Dick has a solid background in the energy business and he especially understands the issues in the Midwestern and Western regions of the U.S."

"Xcel Energy is a well-known U.S. natural gas and electricity company with operations in 10 states," said PUC Commissioner Gary Hanson. "The company has roughly 3.2 million electric customers and 1.7 million natural gas customers. It is the fourth largest gas and electric provider in the nation. I look forward to hearing Dick's perspective on the state of our energy future."

Kelly has been with Xcel Energy and its predecessor companies, New Century Energies and Public Service Co. of Colorado, for many years. Prior to his role as Chairman and CEO, he was President and Chief Operating Officer for the Minneapolis, MN based company.

Phil Dougherty with the U.S. Department of Energy will kick off the conference by addressing attendees at the opening luncheon on September 12.

"Phil is the National Coordinator of Wind Powering America, a division within the U.S. Department of Energy," said PUC Commissioner Bob Sahr. "Phil works closely with the states to develop innovative wind energy programs. He really understands the dynamics of taking federal policies and putting them into action via effective grassroots efforts." 

Dougherty leads a nationwide government team that works with government entities in the energy, agricultural and environmental sectors. He has served in a number of positions at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. during his career there.    

Wind energy development will be the subject of sessions throughout the conference, with the perspectives of landowners, business owners, government officials as well as those within the wind power and utility industries. Attendees from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota are registered to attend.

The pre-conference activities begin with a September 11 afternoon tour to the Buffalo Ridge Wind Farm in Minnesota. Educational sessions will be held throughout the day on September 12 and continue on September 13, culminating with the luncheon.

The September 11 tour and a September 12 evening session are offered at no charge. However, advance registration is required. Details and registration are available online at

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