Xcel Energy is trusted to deliver the essential energy that powers good things every moment of every day. As our corporate tagline acknowledges, we are indeed Responsible by Nature in all aspects of our business, and we just published our 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report to highlight our accomplishments from the past year.
I’m very pleased with our results, which show that our efforts to ensure public safety, drive economic growth in the communities we serve, protect the environment and provide safe, clean reliable energy at a competitive price are making a difference!
Responsibility starts with taking care of the environment as a clean energy leader. Since 2005 through the generating plants we own, Xcel Energy has reduced:
- Carbon dioxide emissions 24 percent
- Air emissions (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) 67 percent
- Mercury emissions 85 percent
- Water consumption more than 30 percent
In 2015, we delivered 34 percent of our energy from carbon-free sources: wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass. That’s good news for our planet. Even better news? We plan to increase our carbon-free energy supply to 43 percent by 2020.
We added four new wind farms in 2015 and increased our wind capacity by 15 percent. Wind energy accounted for 17 percent of our energy supply in 2015 – the 12th consecutive year that the American Wind Energy Association recognized Xcel Energy as the No. 1 utility wind energy provider in the country.
We also encourage our customers to consume less energy, and offer more than 150 different energy-efficiency programs. Last year, our customers saved enough electricity to power 137,000 homes annually and enough natural gas to fuel more than 20,000 homes for a year.
We know that we will only be successful if the communities we serve are thriving. In 2015, we invested $3.5 billion to strengthen our infrastructure and improve our operations. Whenever possible, we hire local and minority contractors and suppliers. Last year, more than 60 percent of our spending – approximately $2.4 billion – went to local businesses.
We helped to facilitate $45.7 million in customer energy assistance across our service territory, supporting more than 100,000 families through several programs ranging from heating assistance to free energy savings services and upgrades.
The Xcel Energy Foundation awarded $3.8 million in grants to nearly 430 non-profit organizations across our service territory, with a continued focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, economic sustainability and accessibility to the arts. Our employees and retirees set a record with $2.8 million in United Way pledges and 50,000 volunteer hours.
We are proud to employ more than 12,000 dedicated professionals across our service territory, and last year more than 10 percent of our new hires came from a military background. It’s not only the right thing to do for those who bravely served our country, it’s also good for our business, because our military vets bring all the right stuff to the job to make Xcel Energy successful for years to come.
And of course, as a publicly traded company, we also recognize our responsibility to deliver a return worthy of the trust our investors place in us. 2015 was the 11th consecutive year we met or exceeded our earnings guidance, and we increased our dividend for the 12th consecutive year. Forbes magazine named Xcel Energy to its list of The 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America for our consistent demonstration of transparent accounting practices and solid corporate governance – a hallmark of our responsible business practices.
Providing safe, reliable, affordable energy. Protecting the environment. Caring for our communities. Delivering value to our customers and investors. Read more about how we embody Responsible by Nature in our 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report.