Xcel Energy plans to cut CO2 output 40% by 2030

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) plans to more than double its renewable energy portfolio and cut its carbon emissions 40% by 2030.

The proposal is outlined in the company’s 2016-2030 Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan, Xcel said Jan. 2.

The resource plan was filed Jan. 2 with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and will be filed this month in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It will be available on Xcel Energy’s website, www.xcelenergy.com.

The plan is driven by achieving aggressive reductions in carbon emissions from 2005 levels – a 30% reduction by 2020 and a 40% reduction by 2030 – to meet expected federal carbon requirements.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Power Plan in June 2014, which calls for states to draft implementation plans to reduce power sector CO2 emissions 30% by 2030.

Carbon reductions described in the resource plan would be achieved by:

• Adding 600 MW of wind by 2020 and 1,200 MW by 2030, bringing total wind power on Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest system to over 3,600 MW.

• Adding 187 MW of large-scale solar energy by the end of 2016 and an additional 1,700 MW of large-scale solar and 500 MW of customer-driven small-scale solar – such as rooftop solar panels and solar gardens – bringing total solar power on the company’s Upper Midwest system to about 2,400 MW;

• Operating the carbon-free, baseload Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants through their current licenses, which begin expiring in 2030; and

• Gradually decreasing reliance on Units 1 and 2 at Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Plant through 2030.

“The transition we are proposing could achieve significant carbon reductions by adding more renewables to our portfolio while dialing back reliance on Sherco Units 1 and 2.” said Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota President Chris Clark.

“We can achieve significant carbon reductions while retaining the benefits of this low-cost baseload resource, but we recognize that future environmental requirements may require significant investments into the plant that could change this analysis.

“Our plan provides the strategic flexibility to address the future of Sherco Units 1 and 2 when the impacts of potential environmental regulation become clearer,” Clark said.

“The resource plan should be viewed in the context of the e21 Initiative Phase I Report: Charting a Path to a 21st Century Energy System in Minnesota, and Xcel Energy’s Dec. 22 letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission seeking a meeting to discuss a potential roadmap for advancing the e21 vision,” Clark said.

The Minnesota PUC recently authorized the Xcel subsidiary, NSP, to add more than 600 MW of natural gas and solar capacity.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.