We think it’s a no-brainer.
We’re thrilled with our ability to transition our energy supply fleet away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources at an affordable price – and we hope you are too. By investing in significant amounts of emissions-free wind energy, we are savings money for customers, while reducing our carbon footprint – a win-win for everyone.
We released our 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report this week – and the numbers are impressive. Carbon emissions were down 30 percent at the end of 2016 compared to 2005. These results are an extension of our carbon-reduction efforts that earned Xcel Energy a Climate Leadership Award last year from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carbon reduction is the most common measure to evaluate environmental performance. But our decision to invest in renewable energy is generating several other environmental benefits.*
• Water consumption is down 35 percent
• Coal ash produced has dropped 28 percent
• Sulfur dioxide emissions are down 70 percent; and
• Nitrogen oxide emissions are down 73 percent
And we have plans to continue down this greener path.
New wind farms
We have proposed 11 new wind farms across our eight-state service territory – the largest multi-state wind filing in the country. If all those wind investments are approved as expected, we project that we will reduce carbon emissions 45 percent by 2021. Wind power is expected to account for nearly 35 percent of our energy supply mix by 2021, up from 19 percent at the end of 2016.
So, while carbon emissions are dropping – prices are remaining affordable. Our average annual monthly residential electric bill in 2016 was $81.12, down from $83.52 in 2013. We expect to keep monthly bills flat despite significant investments in wind infrastructure. Our steel for fuel growth strategy works because the future fuel savings more than offset the cost to build the wind farms. In fact, we project that our owned wind farms will save billions of dollars over a 25-year shelf life, triggering customer bills to decline once all the wind farms are in operation.
Driving economic development
Building wind not only lowers carbon and customer bills, but it also drives significant economic development. As an example, our Courtenay Wind Farm near Jamestown, North Dakota that opened last year provided 200 construction jobs, eight permanent jobs, $850,000 in annual tax revenue and $26.5 million in lease payments to landowners, which will be spread out over 20 years.
We have plans to invest $18.4 billion over the next five years, including more than $4 billion to build wind farms. These projects generate significant local impact as 70 percent of Xcel Energy’s spending on goods and services is with local businesses.
Good corporate citizens
Protecting the environment and driving economic development are important aspects on how we deliver for customers and the communities we are privileged to serve. But we deliver so much more. That includes ensuring public safety and giving back to our communities through our volunteerism and foundation dollars.
As you read our Corporate Responsibility Report (link), you will learn much more about our organization, our community impact and our efforts to develop a sustainable energy future for all of us. We appreciate your partnership as we work together to solve tomorrow’s energy challenges and make sure our communities are safe, strong, thriving and clean for generations to come.
Get the details here