For the 11th consecutive year, Xcel Energy has been named the country’s top utility wind energy provider by the American Wind Energy Association, a national trade association. For more than a decade, Xcel Energy has led the nation in providing wind energy to its customers.
“Xcel Energy is proud to have grown the use of clean, emissions-free wind energy at a reasonable cost for customers. Our wind portfolio is second to none,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy.
In 2014, wind energy made up about 16 percent of the company’s energy supply. Currently, Xcel Energy has 5,794 megawatts of wind power in its portfolio, enough to meet the energy needs of nearly 2.9 million homes. According to a new AWEA report, Xcel Energy is the first U.S. utility to exceed 5,000 megawatts of wind. Only nine countries in the world, in addition to the states of Texas, Iowa and California, have more than 5,000 megawatts of wind capacity.
“Today we have enough confidence in our wind operations and forecasts that we are able to back down less efficient fossil fuel plants during times when high winds are predicted,” said Frank Prager, vice president for policy and federal affairs at Xcel Energy. “It’s a practice that is reducing fuel costs for customers and saving about 233,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.”
Xcel Energy’s commitment to wind energy is clear. The top 10 states for wind capacity include three in the company’s service territory: Texas ranks No. 1, Minnesota is No. 8 and Colorado is No. 10.
In 2013, Xcel Energy announced plans to expand its use of wind power by another 40 percent by 2016. The company is adding nine projects throughout its service territory, representing 1,900 megawatts of new wind energy resources, enough to serve about 900,000 homes. The projects were all acquired at prices competitive with new natural gas-fueled generation and are estimated to save customers more than $900 million over the length of the contracts. At the end of 2014, one-third of this commitment was fulfilled as three of the contracted wind projects came online in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma, totaling about 650 megawatts. The remaining six projects are on schedule to be completed later this year.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.5 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.