Western Resource Advocates today welcomed Xcel Energy’s announcement that it will seek approval for a Clean Energy Plan that will put the company at the forefront of utility efforts to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
While major utilities across the country in recent years have set ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions, Xcel’s plan is noteworthy in proposing concrete steps for achieving a significant reduction in the greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change.
“We commend Xcel Energy for proposing not only to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions set in Colorado law, but exceed them,” said Jon Goldin-Dubois, president of Western Resource Advocates. “Xcel’s development of a concrete plan to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals can be a model for other utilities. This plan lays a strong foundation for Xcel – and Colorado – to reach the ultimate goal of 100% clean energy that is needed to help avoid the worst effects of climate change.
“Each year, we see ever more serious effects caused by a changing climate: more intense wildfires in Colorado and across the West, increased air pollution, prolonged drought, reduced snowpack, and erratic weather patterns. We need strong leadership to further leverage these utility reductions to achieve reductions in fossil fuel pollution from other sectors such as transportation and buildings. We have no time to waste to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change.”
In 2019, the Colorado Legislature passed House Bill 1261, requiring the state to reduce its economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 90% by 2050. Another 2019 law requires Xcel Energy to reduce its emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2030.
In Xcel’s Clean Energy Plan announced today, the utility says it will achieve an 85% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and will generate 80% of its electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar. These commitments exceed the state requirements and will get us closer to the 100% clean energy we need in order to curb the effects of climate change.
Here in Colorado, those effects of climate change are increasingly apparent. We lived through the brutal, extended wildfire season of 2020 and experienced how it deteriorated our air quality. We see our entire state in drought, and we know our low snow pack does not bode well for 2021.
Xcel Energy is expected to formally file its plan with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in late March. Through that PUC process, Western Resource Advocates will further assess Xcel’s plan to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce emissions, protect reliability of service, and keep rates reasonable.