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Xcel Energy Tests Its Ambitious Carbon Vision
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Xcel Energy Tests Its Ambitious Carbon Vision

New targets supported by climate science

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Xcel Energy’s vision to deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity to
customers is now backed by a scientific study. The company announced
today it verified its groundbreaking carbon goals in a newly
published report
— an industry first for in-depth analysis. It
partnered with climate scientists with the University of Denver to
confirm its vision is consistent with temperature goals of the Paris
climate agreement.

As a national leader in clean energy, Xcel Energy is on a quest to
deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. In 2018, the
company reduced carbon emissions 38 percent from 2005 levels, as it aims
to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030 company-wide. This
significant progress comes as the company adds new wind and solar to its
energy portfolio while retiring coal plants and transitioning with
cleaner natural gas.

“We are well positioned for the future and are focused on putting the
right technology and policies in place to make our vision a reality,”
said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO, Xcel Energy. “Our 2018
carbon results demonstrate the significant gains we’re making in the
transition to clean energy while still maintaining safe, reliable and
affordable service for our customers.”

Xcel Energy’s newly published report outlines the path to achieving its
ambitious carbon reductions, as well as the results of the scientific
study. The climate modeling experts concluded the company’s emissions
reduction trajectory under its carbon vision is consistent with electric
sector emissions in scenarios likely to achieve the temperature goals of
the Paris climate agreement.

Carbon reductions realized
In 2018, Xcel Energy cut carbon
emissions an additional 3 percent in one year. This reduction is notable
because, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon
emissions for the electric power sector increased 2 percent in 2018.
Xcel Energy’s lower emissions are the result of continued high
performance from the company’s nuclear plants, reduced coal generation,
and an increase in generation from natural gas and some renewables. Xcel
Energy’s new 600-megawatt Rush Creek wind farm in Colorado also came
online last year, the company’s largest wind project to date.

The path to carbon-free electricity for customers
Energy studied many pathways for achieving its goals and its carbon
report identifies key elements for reducing carbon emissions 80 percent
by 2030. These elements include:

  • Adding thousands of megawatts of wind and solar power to its system
  • Incorporating both natural gas generation and battery storage to help
    balance high levels of renewables
  • Retiring more coal units or changing coal unit operations to reduce
  • Operating our nuclear plants through their licenses
  • Supporting the strategic electrification of certain end uses, such as
    transportation, to create flexible demand
  • Investing in critical infrastructure, such as transmission and
    advanced grid technology for our distribution system

Beyond 2030, the company will need new carbon-free 24/7 technologies
that are not yet commercially available at the cost and scale required.
To serve customers with 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, the
company is calling for more research, innovation and demonstration of
advanced carbon-free technologies, such as power to gas, seasonal energy
storage, advanced nuclear or small modular reactors, carbon capture and
storage, deep rock geothermal or other technologies.

Xcel Energy’s carbon report — Building
a Carbon-free Future
is available at,
along with the full analysis by climate modelers.

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the
energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western
and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an
industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing
and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable
sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit
or follow us on Twitter
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Xcel Energy Media Relations
(612) 215-5300

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