Marking Earth Day Monday, investor-owned utility Xcel Energy said it had reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 16 percent, or 14 million tons, since it began a reduction strategy in its eight-state service territory in 2005.
The company’s goal is to achieve a 20 percent CO2 reduction by 2020, and it said the latest projections are that it will surpass that goal by up to 7 percent.
“We all share the goal of satisfying the country’s growing energy demands in the least expensive, most reliable and cleanest way possible,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We continue to successfully pursue a strategy that reflects our customers’ desire to protect the environment and our desire to produce clean energy while maintaining reliable service at an affordable price.”
In a news release, the firm said its emissions-reduction strategy is built on three components:
• Renewable energy. AWEA recently again named Xcel Energy the No. 1 provider of wind energy in the nation. Xcel Energy has held that spot for nine consecutive years.
• Efficiency programs. For 30 years, Xcel Energy has provided its residential and business customers with efficiency and rebate programs to help them save energy and money.
• Power plant upgrades/repowering. Xcel Energy pursues power plant emission-reduction initiatives that address environmental concerns efficiently.
Fuel diversity is an important part of the overall strategy. Xcel Energy provides power from sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro, biomass and solar.
At the end of 2012, Xcel Energy had nearly 4,900 MW of wind electricity generating capacity on its system, enough to power the equivalent of 1.5 million homes and at least 600 megawatts more than the next leading utility. Wind power currently generates about 12 percent of the energy the company supplies to its customers, and additional wind resources are being sought in Colorado, the Upper Midwest and Texas.
Xcel Energy’s efficiency programs have had a significant impact as well, it said. Since 1992, enough electricity has been saved through the company’s efficiency programs to avoid the need to build nearly 10 medium-sized power plants in Minnesota.
Xcel Energy was one of seven utilities that first set goals for reducing carbon emissions and developed strategic plans back in 2004.
“As the utility industry prepares for federal regulation of carbon dioxide and other emissions, we support flexibility in rules that allow states to develop diverse emission reduction strategies and an early action credit for companies that have proactively implemented clean energy programs,” Fowke said.
California ISO reports new wind generation record: 4,196 MW, April 9, 2013
Fact check: Sen. Alexander’s claims about wind energy unfounded, March 27, 2013
Xcel Energy achieves wind energy milestone, March 26, 2013
California, Pacific Northwest set new wind generation records, March 5, 2013
Fact check: Wind power reducing carbon emissions in E.U., Germany, February 22, 2013
Wind generation records fall in Texas, Colorado, Pacific Northwest, February 20, 2013
More new wind generation records: Texas, Spain, UK, February 5, 2013
Bonneville reaches new peak for wind generation: 4,344 MW, January 31, 2013
ERCOT sets wind generation record on Christmas Day, January 14, 2013
Southwest Power Pool achieves wind penetration record, December 20, 2012
TVA named ‘Utility of Year’ for pioneering wind power in Southeast, December 3, 2012
AWEA honors Alabama Power for using wind power to save dollars for Southeastern customers, December 3, 2012
ERCOT, SPP systems see record wind generation levels, November 21, 2012
Fact check: Reason Foundation FAIL on wind and emissions, October 11, 2012
Alabama Power ‘doubles down’ on wind, October 9, 2012
Fact check: Post repeats false claims on wind and emissions, July 3, 2012
Texas system operator tallies new record: 8,368 MW, June 21, 2012
WINDPOWER 2012 Update: Xcel Colorado sets new mark with 56.7% wind, June 5, 2012
Fact check: Coverage of Argonne wind and emissions study flawed, June 1, 2012
Wind generation sets new records in Texas, Spain, May 22, 2012
Fact check: Lomborg lacking on wind’s economics, emissions reductions, March 23, 2012
Wind tops 25 percent of load on main Texas grid, March 5, 2012
Fact check: Silverstein errs on wind’s variability, emissions cuts, February 27, 2012
Across the U.S., wind power sets new generation records, February 13, 2012
Buffett’s utility votes for renewable energy, January 31, 2012
Fact check: New Dutch report misinformed on wind power and emissions, January 13, 2012
Xcel sets world record with 55.6% wind penetration, November 28, 2011
Xcel Energy: More wind, less cost, October 31, 2011
Fact check: Fred Udo’s bogus numbers on wind and emissions savings, September 9, 2011
Fact check: Bryce, Bentek miss on emissions, July 20, 2011
Wind energy integration: Some fundamental facts, June 23, 2011
Tom Gray, http://www.awea.org/blog