On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, addressed the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. His comments emphasized the critical role that fuel diversity, including fossil fuels and renewable resources, and federal incentives such as a customer renewable credit play in ensuring Americans have clean, reliable energy at a competitive price.
“The topic of the hearing, fuel diversity in the power sector, could not be more important at this critical juncture in the energy sector,” said Fowke, citing Xcel Energy’s diverse mix of fuel sources that includes coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro, and solar. “Our strategy has put us on track to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. At the same time, we have been able to maintain power prices at or below the national average.”
In his remarks, Fowke emphasized the importance of allowing individual states to develop strategies that include energy efficiency, renewable energy and emission reduction programs, such as Colorado’s Clean Air Clean Jobs. Equally important is giving credit to states and energy companies that have already acted early to address carbon issues.
Xcel Energy has been an early advocate of a federal customer renewable credit (CRC) as an alternative to the recently approved production tax credit. The CRC is a tax credit to utilities that integrate wind energy on their systems. It would help reduce customer costs while encouraging higher levels of renewable integration-at a fraction of the cost of the PTC. Says Fowke, “Customers in many states already are paying for clean energy programs and should be rewarded, not punished.”