Minnesota utility Xcel Energy is aiming to deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050 with an interim target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 in the eight states it serves.
The new goals are the most ambitious announced to date within the electric power industry. Xcel Energy’s strong track record includes reducing carbon emissions 35 percent since 2005, as part of its previous goal to cut carbon 60 percent by 2030. The company believes that its 2030 goal can be achieved affordably with renewable energy and other technologies currently available. However, achieving the long-term vision of zero-carbon electricity requires technologies that are not cost effective or commercially available today, which is why the company is committing itself to ongoing work in the development of advanced technologies while putting the necessary policies in place to achieve the transition.
“This is an extraordinary time to work in the energy industry, as we’re providing customers more low-cost clean energy than we could have imagined a decade ago” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO, Xcel Energy. “We’re accelerating our carbon reduction goals because we’re encouraged by advances in technology, motivated by customers who are asking for it and committed to working with partners to make it happen.”
Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis added that the announcement, along with the strong climate goals communities like Pueblo, Summit County, Ft. Collins, Denver and others across the state have embraced, shows that Colorado is leading the way by committing to a renewable and clean energy future.
Xcel Energy’s electricity grid serves millions of customers with reliable, affordable energy. By implementing new renewable and carbon-free generation and energy storage technologies at scale, the company can provide the greatest environmental impact at the lowest cost for customers. That clean electricity can then also be used to reduce the environmental footprint of other industries, such as transportation through the use of electric vehicles, for even greater impact.
“Rapid advances in wind farm technology have cut costs and increased output to the point where zero-carbon wind power is now both cleaner and more affordable than traditional sources” said Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Xcel Energy’s outstanding leadership in large-scale wind power investments will help ensure these ambitious carbon cutting goals can be met while keeping electricity service affordable and reliable for consumers”.