How Xcel Energy Slashed Carbon Emissions by 38% in 2018

by | May 31, 2019

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How Xcel Energy Slashed Carbon Emissions by 38%

(Photo: Xcel Energy seeks to purchase 100% renewable energy. Credit: Xcel Energy on YouTube)

Xcel Energy reports reducing carbon emissions 38% from 2005 levels in 2018, putting the utility on track to reach its interim goal of cutting carbon 80% by 2030. The energy provider details its approach in a new annual corporate responsibility report.

In March, Xcel announced the goal to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. This month, the utility company said it’s currently on track to get there.

“We’re realizing significant progress in the clean energy transition and empowering those who want to save energy and purchase 100% renewable electricity,” said chairman, president, and CEO Ben Fowke. “All of our customers benefit from our strategies that both dramatically reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.”

The US electricity and natural gas company, which operates in eight Western states, has 3.6 million electricity customers and 2 million natural gas customers. On May 20, Xcel Energy announced plans to retire its last two coal plants in the Upper Midwest 10 years earlier than initially scheduled. The intention is to end all coal use in the Upper Midwest in 2030.

Besides closing coal-fired plants, Xcel has emphasized renewable energy. In 2018, according to the new report, renewable energy sources produced 25% of the company’s electricity.

“The easiest way to reduce carbon is to never produce it in the first place,” Fowke said in introducing the new report. “We offer more than 150 energy efficiency programs to help our customers reduce their bills.”

The report showed that in 2018:

  • Nearly 190,000 customers participated in renewable choice programs
  • Customers completed about 4.8 million energy saving projects through efficiency programs and rebate options
  • Customers saved 1,240 gigawatt hours of electricity
  • Customers saved 1.6 million dekatherms of natural gas
  • Xcel Energy and its customers avoided more than 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions

Last year Xcel saw record renewable generation. “In both Colorado and the Upper Midwest, there were hours where renewables delivered over 70% of Xcel Energy customers’ electricity and days where customers received more than 60% renewable energy,” the company said.

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