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Xcel Energy Puts Customers and the Environment First

Last week, Xcel Energy gave further proof that “Responsible by Nature” is not a mere tagline. By announcing an ambitious goal of 100% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2050, they demonstrated “Responsible by Nature” is a guiding principle for the company. Colorado Gov-Elect Jared Polis, elected with a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040, lauded Xcel for having the most aggressive goal of any utility in the country. It’s especially meaningful to us at Tendril, as this will have a significant impact on the state we live and work in.

Xcel Energy’s pledge is part of an important trend of laudatory energy plans we’re seeing filed across the country. A pledge of this nature is only possible because of two things: Xcel Energy recognizes what their customers want, and is willing to adopt cutting-edge technologies to achieve this goal.

Listening to Customers

At the heart of its pledge, is Xcel Energy’s commitment to listening to their customers and delivering what they want. As Ben Fowkes, the CEO of Xcel Energy stated at a press event, “when your customers are asking for this over and over you really do listen. Boulder, the city of Denver, Breckenridge, Pueblo, they’re considered or they have already decided that they want to pursue 100 percent renewable.”

Xcel Energy is stepping up to the plate to deliver renewable energy, all while delivering affordable and reliable energy. Earlier this year, Xcel Energy made waves for phasing out its Comanche coal plants by bringing more wind and solar energy online, while actually lowering costs for its customers. It’s easy to see why Utility Dive named Xcel Energy as Utility of the Year last week even before their ambitious goal of going carbon free.

Embracing Technology

Xcel Energy also brings candor to this announcement as achieving a carbon-free future by 2050 will require technology that isn’t available or commercially viable today. It’s a leap of faith in human ingenuity and technology progress, and will place innovative utilities such as Xcel at the forefront of innovation.

Embracing existing technology and available resources, Xcel Energy is also pledging to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 company-wide. This is a natural extension of their existing goal to reduce their carbon footprint in Colorado by 60% and boost renewables to 55% of its energy mix by 2026. I am proud that Xcel Energy is partnering with us to offer some of these necessary technologies to meet their 2030 goals.

Trying new technology isn’t a new position for Xcel Energy. They’ve been at the forefront of trying new technologies. They were one of the first to embrace electric vehicles with strong rebates for customers and make critical investments in charging infrastructure. They’ve worked with institutions such as the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to better predict demand and generation from renewable sources allowing for record-setting days of renewable generation in 2018.

We’ve also gotten to work with Xcel Energy over the years as they’ve launched Tendril’s demand management solution, Orchestrated Energy, as a way to add grid flexibility and increase energy efficiency for customers.

We know firsthand how they’re open to innovation and are excited to see this new carbon-free age that they’re helping to bring to our home state. In the near-term, we expect more utilities to join the ranks of Xcel Energy, PSEG and Consumers Energy in creating ambitious but realistic energy plans that serve their customers with innovative technology, reduced emissions and lower bills.

 

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