Xcel Energy investing billions on electric transmission, distribution

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) will be spending $15.2bn on “base capital” expenditures between 2016 and 2020 and more than half of that total will be devoted to electric transmission or distribution.

That’s according to materials Xcel Energy filed in connection with its quarterly earnings report on Aug. 3.

In addition, Xcel utility Public Service of Colorado plans to file a request with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in August to approve a certificate of public convenience and necessity for implementation of its advanced grid initiative, Xcel said in a news release.

The project incorporates installing advanced meters, implementing a combination of hardware and software applications to allow the distribution system to operate at a lower voltage (integrated volt-var optimization) and installing necessary communications infrastructure to implement this hardware, Xcel said.

These major projects are expected to improve customer experience, enhance grid reliability and enable the implementation of new and innovative programs and rate structures. The estimated capital investment for the project is approximately $500m, which is largely included in Xcel Energy’s base capital forecast for 2016-2020. The project would be completed by 2021.

Xcel Energy indicated that 27% of its overall base capital spending will be devoted to electric transmission and another 27% will be earmarked for distribution.

The remaining amount of the base capital spending will be split between electric generation (22%), natural gas (13%), other 8% and Minnesota renewables 3%.

In addition, Xcel Energy also expects to spend roughly $2.5bn on “upside” capital expenditures between now and 2020.

The upside capital spending breaks down like this: Colorado wind (41%), Minnesota renewables (25%), other (22%) and grid modernization (12%).

Xcel Energy today reported 2016 second quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $197m, or 39 cents per share, compared with $197m, or 39 cents per share, in the same period in 2015.

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.