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