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Carbon Reduction Plan

We have reduced carbon emissions by 35 percent – that's 30 million tons annually.

50% Less Carbon Emissions by 2022

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 35% – that's nearly 30 million tons annually.

That's Like

Planting 705 million trees
Recycling9.5 million tons of waste
Saving 3 billion gallons of gasoline
Source: U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator

Recognized for Our Achievements

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 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2022. Our goal is to reduce carbon emissions 60 by 2030 from 2005 levels. It's one of the most ambitious carbon-reduction targets in the industry, and we have aspirations to do more.

How We're Doing It

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:

Renewable Energy

Xcel Energy is a national leader in wind energy.

In 2017, about 21 percent of the energy we delivered to customers company-wide came from wind power, and we have plans to grow this to 40 percent in 2022. We have proposed the nation's largest multi-state investment in wind energy with 12 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 more than 700 megawatts of cost-effective large, universal solar projects to benefit all of our customers in the past several years – that’s enough clean solar energy to power more than 177,000 homes annually.

Customer Options

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 2017 alone, participants in our programs helped prevent about 628,000 tons of carbon emissions, as well as other environmental impacts. That's equivalent to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 122,000 cars for the year.

Transitioning our Conventional Power Plants

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 recently transformed 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. And we have proposed to do more through the Colorado Energy Plan.

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 2017 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)

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. 2017
  4. 2022
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

Rather than crank up your heat in the winter, keep your thermostat at a moderate level and bundle up. (Who doesn't love fuzzy slippers?)

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Install carbon monoxide detectors and annually hire a qualified contractor to inspect your home for proper ventilation.