We're steadily reducing carbon dioxide emissions through a proactive, cost-effective, clean energy strategy that is changing how we produce and encourage the efficient use of energy. Since 2005, we have reduced carbon emissions by 30% – that's nearly 27 million tons annually.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry recognized us with a 2016 Climate Leadership Award for excellence in greenhouse gas management after we surpassed our original target and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 22 percent from 2005 to 2014 – six years ahead of schedule. And now, we’re on pace to achieve a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2021.
Through our very cost-effective clean energy strategy, we are leading the transition to a more sustainable energy future – at a low cost to customers. Our plan includes:
For more than a decade, Xcel Energy has remained the nation's No. 1 utility provider of wind energy, according to The American Wind Energy Association (external link).
In 2016, about 19 percent of the energy we delivered to customers company-wide came from wind power, and we have plans to grow this to nearly 35 percent by 2021. We have proposed the nation's largest multi-state investment in wind energy with 11 new wind farms planned in seven states. The projects will actually save customers money. And, we are applying the same dedication to growing the use of solar energy. We have added about 500 megawatts of cost-effective large, universal solar projects to benefit all of our customers in the past several years customers – that’s enough clean solar energy to power about 124,000 homes annually.
We continue to provide residential and business customers with a leading portfolio of efficiency and rebate programs to help them save energy and money.
In 2015 alone, participants in our programs helped prevent about 631,000 tons of CO2 emissions, as well as other environmental impacts. That's equivalent to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 121,000 cars for the year!
We pursue cost-effective projects to retire aging coal plants and repower them with more flexible natural gas – a cleaner fuel that operates more efficiently with renewable energy sources. We're currently transforming our coal plants in Colorado through Clean Air-Clean Jobs, as we did in Minnesota through the Metro Emissions Reduction Project
We will also retire two coal units at our Sherco Generating Plant in Minnesota in 2023 and 2026, with plans to replace the energy with a new, highly efficient natural gas plant to be built at the Sherco site.
In addition, we continue to maintain and responsibly operate two nuclear generating plants in Minnesota as reliable sources of carbon-free energy.
Learn more about our efforts to reduce and report greenhouse gas emissions in our annual Corporate Responsibility Report, in our 2016 Energy and Carbon Emissions Reporting Summary (PDF) and in Xcel Energy's 2017 climate change report to CDP. We also participated in the CDP Water Program in 2017 (PDF)
Xcel Energy becomes one of the first power suppliers to sign on to track, verify, and reduce carbon emissions.