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Carbon Reduction Plan

Since 2005, we have reduced carbon emissions by 24 percent – that's nearly 21 million tons annually.

30% Less CO2 by 2020

We're steadily reducing carbon dioxide emissions through a proactive clean energy strategy that is changing how we produce and encourage the use of energy. Since 2005, we have reduced carbon emissions by 24% – that's nearly 21 million tons annually.

That's Like

Planting 492 million trees
Recycling6 million tons of waste
Saving 2 billion gallons of gasoline
Source: U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator

Recognized for Our Achievements

The US 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 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.

How We're Doing It

Fuel diversity is an important part of the overall strategy. Xcel Energy provides power from sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro, biomass and solar. But there's more to our plan:

Renewable Energy

The American Wind Energy Association named Xcel Energy the No. 1 utility provider of wind energy in the nation for 12 years running.

In 2015, about 17 percent of the energy we delivered to customers came from wind power, and we have plans to add more through the Rush Creek Wind Project in Colorado and our groundbreaking Upper Midwest Resource Plan. And, we are applying the same dedication to growing the use of solar energy. In 2016, we expect to add more than 500 megawatts of large, universal solar projects to benefit all of our customers – that’s enough clean solar energy to power about 124,000 homes annually.

Efficiency Programs

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!

Power Plant Upgrades/Repowering

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've also proposed retiring two coal units at our Sherco Generating Plant in Minnesota. It's a move that will help achieve a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions in the Upper Midwest by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

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 2015 Energy and Carbon Reporting at a Glance Sheet and in Xcel Energy's 2016 climate change report to CDP.

Our Past, Present and Future

Use the slider to see our key milestones in reducing carbon emissions from the past to the future.

  1. 2005
  2. 2013
  3. 2014
  4. 2020
21% Carbon Free


Xcel Energy becomes one of the first power suppliers to sign on to track, verify, and reduce carbon emissions.


Energy Saving Tip

Make sure to regularly change the air filters on your HVAC system (at least once per month). Old, clogged filters are far less efficient than new ones.


Electrical Appliance Safety

Always keep appliances clean, operating properly, and clear of obstructions. Unplug them when cleaning or repairing to avoid serious injury.