Xcel Energy on Track to Cut CO2 Emissions 15% by 2020

by | May 28, 2010

Xcel Energy has exceeded its 2009 goal to achieve energy savings of 450 GWh for all operating companies, reducing energy consumption by 573 GWh thanks to demand side management programs, according to the company’s 2009 corporate responsibility report.

In 2009, Xcel reduced electricity consumption in its corporate facilities by nearly 2.7 million kWh, exceeding its target of 2 million kWh. It also marks the third consecutive year the utility company has achieved savings of more than 2 million kWh through energy-management initiatives. A total of 115 energy management-related projects were completed in 2009, including HVAC system control and equipment replacements and lighting retrofits.

The company also reduced electricity use in its IT data centers by 2.5 percent. In 2010, Xcel expects to achieve an additional power savings of approximately 8 percent due to virtualization technology.

Xcel is also on track to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions 15 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. The company has reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 11 percent from 2003 levels.

Xcel received a 2009 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Xcel’s increased use of renewable sources has helped the utility cut its CO2 emissions, according to the report. The utility is ranked as the No. 1 wind power provider in the U.S. and is ranked No. 5 for solar capacity.

Xcel met its 2009 goal to gain regulatory approval for 200 MW of additional wind energy. The company’s new goal is to have 200 MW of wind energy available for commercial operation by 12/31/10.

Key projects completed in 2009 include SmartGridCity, and an Innovative Clean Technology project, as well as 10 of 14 efficiency projects. The company’s goal for 2010 is to complete its Colorado Integrated Solar Project, the company’s first initiative under its Innovative Clean Technology program, and 8 of 10 company efficiency projects.

The Colorado Integrated Solar Project at Xcel’s Cameo Generating Station near Palisade, Colo., is demonstrating the world’s first integration of a parabolic trough concentrating solar plant with a conventional coal-fired plant. The project is expected to decrease the overall consumption of coal, reduce emissions from the plant, and improve plant efficiency.

The project will also test commercial viability of concentrating solar integration and increase the opportunity for cost-effective renewable power generation, says Xcel.

Xcel is also working on several carbon capture pilot projects including those supported by the Electric Power Research Institute. This spring, Xcel will conduct tests at two Xcel Energy power plants. One will test the use of several solid sorbents to capture CO2 and the other will test regenerative capture using low-pressure sorption on solid carbonaceous materials.

The company also has developed a carbon offset pilot program for its Colorado customers, which will run through early 2011, to learn how the carbon offset marketplace works and to purchase and develop carbon-emission offsets that will be used in the future to reduce costs associated with carbon regulation. The offset pilot program will be funded through sales of renewable energy credits.

Xcel is also evaluating ten plug-in hybrid Ford Escape sport-utility vehicles  in various applications in the Xcel Energy fleet. The company also has three hybrid bucket trucks in service — one in the Denver metro area and two in the Twin Cities.

Xcel is also developing a “green supplier” program, which it will launch in 2010. The goal of the program will be to increase the amount of business it does with suppliers whose environmental programs support its corporate environmental leadership strategy.

This chart shows Xcel’s 2009 renewable energy portfolio.

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