Xcel Energy unveils new clean energy plan, carbon reduction goals

Published on February 06, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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Xcel Energy proposed a new clean energy plan for the Upper Midwest that would significantly accelerate carbon reduction plans.

Under the proposal, carbon emissions reductions would exceed 80 percent by 2030, potentially reaching up to 88 percent. This would position the company to meet Minnesota’s new carbon-free standard for 2040. Further, the plan would keep costs low for customers by unlocking $5.7 billion in estimated tax credit savings from the Inflation Reduction Act for renewable generation and energy storage additions.

“This new proposal builds on our already-approved plans to retire all coal plants by 2030 and replace them with nation-leading amounts of renewable energy like wind and solar, as we transition to a clean, secure energy future,” Ryan Long, president of Xcel Energy—Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, said. “Our strategy will support renewables with always-available generation resources to ensure the reliability that our customers depend on.”

The plan calls for extending the use of Xcel Energy’s two carbon-free nuclear plants while adding more wind and solar energy, battery energy storage systems, and always-availbale electric generation capacity.

Specifically, it would add 3,600 megawatts of new wind and solar facilities by 2030; extend the operation of the carbon-free Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants through the early 2050s; add 600 megawatts of battery energy storage by 2030; and add more than 2,200 megawatts of always-available resources by 2030 to back up renewables.

Further, the plan would build on the success of the company’s energy efficiency and demand response programs that help customers save energy and money while reducing energy use on the grid.

Also, as the company retires coal plants, it is committed to a smooth transition for its employees, who have played a vital role in powering the region for decades. The company has closed or converted more than 20 coal units across the eight states it serves without layoffs and expects to accomplish this again at the Sherco and Allen S. King facilities in Minnesota between now and 2030. The company will work with employees to ensure that anyone working at a retiring coal plant who wants a job with Xcel Energy will have one.

Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest electric system serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Michigan.