Xcel Energy believes in an environmental policy approach that balances costs and environmental benefits while maintaining a reliable utility system. We pursue proactive emission reduction and clean energy strategies that improve the environment, control costs and meet the interests of our communities. It is a sensible approach to providing clean energy for our customers.
Our efforts have already reduced considerable future environmental costs to our customers and risk to shareholders. In 2012, we advanced environmental initiatives and also opposed some regulations when necessary to protect the interests of our customers, communities and shareholders. We regularly engage in discussions with policymakers, regulators, energy providers, the environmental community and customers regarding environmental issues, with the following principles in mind:
- Xcel Energy strives to comply with all environmental regulations. We have developed and are continuously improving our environmental management system to meet the compliance challenges of the next decade, including the growing complexity of environmental regulation.
- On behalf of our customers, we have made substantial investments in environmental improvement and clean energy leadership. We will continue to look for ways to proactively reduce environmental risk. Proactive efforts can offer significant value in the form of lower long-term cost to customers. Xcel Energy’s proactive emissions reduction projects, such as Clean Air-Clean Jobs and the Minnesota Metro Emissions Reduction Project, have allowed us to avoid the cost and disruption seen in other parts of the industry.
- We believe that environmental and climate policy should appropriately recognize the environmental benefits of our proactive efforts.
- Though a legislated national policy to address climate change is not currently under federal debate, EPA is regulating greenhouse gases and plans to expand its greenhouse gas regulation. Climate legislation also remains a long-term possibility. Accordingly, we are monitoring and managing the risk of climate policy in all its potential forms.
- Environmental and climate policy should drive forward, and not hinder, the development of new, cost-effective clean energy technologies, and Xcel Energy is committed to supporting these efforts. As the nation’s No. 1 wind provider and a leader in solar and energy efficiency programs, we are optimistic about the future opportunities that clean energy technologies present.
- Cascading environmental mandates, such as stack-by-stack or emission-specific compliance requirements, should be coordinated on a system-wide basis to maximize cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits.
- Regulators should not lose sight of the tremendous value of flexibility, such as alternative compliance options and market-based environmental programs, in implementation of rules. Flexibility yields real cost benefits to customers while maintaining the environmental benefits.
About the Report
We published our first corporate responsibility report (formerly known as the Triple Bottom Line report) in April 2005, with the contents covering the 2004 calendar year, and we have published a similar report in each following year. Our report is based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the most widely used sustainability reporting framework in the world. Additionally, we incorporate the GRI’s Electric Utilities Sector Supplement indicators wherever possible.