Xcel Energy says the alternate energy plan that the company expects to propose to regulators will include more wind, solar, energy storage and natural gas options to protect reliability. The company says this new plan will also reduce carbon emissions more than 85% by 2030 (versus 80% in the original proposal), compared to 2005 levels, and save customers energy via efficiency programs.
The new proposal is an alternate option to the Upper Midwest Energy Plan proposed to regulators last year. Xcel Energy says it delivers “even greater carbon reductions” than its original plan; it also relies on renewable generation, energy storage and smaller natural gas facilities to maintain reliability rather than the Sherco combined cycle plant proposed in the original plan. Xcel Energy believes these facilities would operate significantly fewer hours per year than the proposed Sherco combined cycle plant and have far fewer carbon emissions.
The company says these are necessary to ensure system reliability when wind and solar resources are not available.
Additionally, it would save customers energy by using energy efficiency programs to save approximately 800,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year, and more than 400 megawatts of demand response programs that would reduce the amount of energy customers need, especially at peak times. The company projects that the plan would save customers approximately $600 million
The alternate option was developed following significant feedback from stakeholders, as well as additional analysis on the future of the region’s energy grid, the company says.