Xcel Energy reported today that it reduced carbon emissions 38% from 2005 levels – well ahead of industry reductions – as it aims by 2050 to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity. While Destination 2050 is the vision, the company is currently on pace to reach its interim goal to cut carbon 80% by 2030, as it maintains reliable and affordable energy for customers, a key component of the goal. Xcel Energy unveiled its annual Corporate Responsibility Report that shows how the company is meeting its environmental, economic and community commitments.
“Our customers and communities are at the center of all we do, especially our industry-leading plans to deliver carbon-free electricity by 2050,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We’re realizing significant progress in the clean energy transition and empowering those who want to save energy and purchase 100% renewable electricity. All of our customers benefit from our strategies that both dramatically reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.”
Xcel Energy’s clean energy leadership includes a groundbreaking proposal to end all coal use in the Upper Midwest in 2030, to have renewable sources power more than half its grid in Colorado by 2026 and vastly expand the use of wind energy in Texas and New Mexico. Maintaining nuclear generation and encouraging customer energy efficiency and participation in voluntary renewable choice programs are critical for the company to reach its carbon reduction goals. The company expects to achieve its 2030 goal using existing technologies and is advocating for research and development to advance 24/7 carbon-free technologies that are required to reach destination 2050 while protecting customer reliability and affordability.
Renewable energy sources produced 25% of the company’s electricity in 2018. With its 38% reduction in carbon emissions from the electricity serving customers, the company is also well ahead of the industry average of 27%. Xcel Energy also provides voluntary options for customers who want to reduce energy usage and go beyond renewables in the company’s standard energy mix.
- Nearly 190,000 customers participated in renewable choice programs.
- Customers completed about 4.8 million energy-saving projects through more than 150 efficiency programs and rebate options.
- Xcel Energy customers saved 1,240 gigawatt hours of electricity, enough to power 160,000 average homes.
- They also saved 1.6 million dekatherms of natural gas enough to fuel 20,000 average homes.
- Xcel Energy and its customers avoided more than 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking approximately 290,000 cars off the road for a year.*
Other highlights detailed in the report include:
- Beyond carbon reduction: By delivering cleaner energy, the company is reducing other environmental impacts. It reduced water consumption 20% from all electricity generation and air emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at least 77%.
- 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.
- Community commitment: Investment of $63.1 million in 2018, which includes support for energy assistance, volunteer programs and grants through the Xcel Energy Foundation. These grants support nonprofit organizations focused on STEM education, environmental stewardship, arts and culture and economic sustainability. For communities where the company is closing coal plants, it is partnering on economic development opportunities to successfully make this transition.
- Workforce for the future: To build the energy future, Xcel Energy is working to attract, retain and develop the highest quality talent through its workforce programs. In 2018, 56% of newly hired employees were local, 24% had ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 10% were veterans. The company has also reduced workplace injuries 55% since 2009.
- Strong corporate governance: The Xcel Energy’s Board of Directors has an independent lead director with 12 of 13 independent board members, including five that self-identify as female and/or minority to provide the diverse perspectives and experience the company needs to be successful.