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Environmental Management

Managing our environmental responsibilities continues to grow more challenging as the rules become more complex. Every day we work to comply with millions of requirements designed to protect the air, water, land and wildlife surrounding our operations. By improving our environmental impact and lowering emissions through our proactive clean energy strategy, we reduce our compliance risk. We have in place a strong environmental management system that guides our compliance efforts. It is based on a corporate-wide environmental policy for which all employees are accountable.

Environmental Management System

We have a formal environmental management system designed to ensure continuous improvement and compliance with all applicable environmental requirements. Our management system provides:

Oversight Board of directors—Nuclear, Environment and Safety Committee
Chairman, President and CEO
Strategy Council
Environmental Policy and Services Department
Risk analysis Goals and performance indicators at corporate and operating levels
Multidisciplinary teams for developing new compliance programs
Environmental Audit Program
Policies & procedures Corporate environmental policy
Formal, documented procedures
Regular monitoring of new, evolving regulatory activity
Monitoring Compliance tracking system
Monthly performance reporting
Routine facility audits
Follow-up for compliance gaps Tracking for corrective action and internal audit findings
Training & communication New employee orientation
Site and topic specific employee training
Updates and information communicated through internal channels

Read our corporate environmental policy.

Compliance Results

We strive to operate in compliance with all federal, state and local rules and regulations. However, there are occasions when regulatory agencies issue notices of violation (NOVs) or other types of notifications of potential noncompliance for alleged exceedances of permit limits or regulatory requirements. These NOVs can potentially result in fines or penalties. Often there can be disputes about the alleged noncompliance, and even when it is our view that we remained in compliance, settlements are often reached to avoid the transaction costs of litigation and to cooperate with the regulatory agencies. NOV/Compliance Advisory activity for 2013 is outlined below.

Every year as part of our internal and ongoing efforts to self-identify and self-correct any potential noncompliance issues, we conduct our own facility audits. In 2013, we conducted about 187 internal audits to ensure compliance.

Activity 2013
Notices of Violation or Compliance Advisories 5
Penalties Paid $8,050
External Agency Audits or Inspections 76
Internal Audits Conducted to Ensure Compliance 187

Learn more about Xcel Energy’s Environmental Management System.

Environmental Expenditures for 2013

Environmental costs include payments for nuclear plant decommissioning, storage and ultimate disposal of spent nuclear fuel, disposal of hazardous materials and waste, remediation of contaminated sites and monitoring of discharges to the environment. Increasingly stringent regulation has caused higher operating expenses and capital expenditures for environmental compliance.

In addition to nuclear decommissioning and spent nuclear fuel disposal expenses, costs charged to operating expenses for environmental monitoring and disposal of hazardous materials and waste were approximately:

  • $275 million in 2013
  • $263 million in 2012
  • $265 million in 2011
  • $256 million in 2010
  • $225 million in 2009
  • $213 million in 2008
  • $173 million in 2007

Nuclear decommissioning and spent nuclear fuel disposal expense information is in our 2013 10-K.

Capital expenditures for environmental improvements at regulated facilities were approximately:

  • $517 million in 2013
  • $255 million in 2012
  • $48 million in 2011
  • $473 million in 2010
  • $89 million in 2009
  • $230 million in 2008