Xcel Energy on track to surpass carbon-cutting goal by 2020

Xcel Energy's emissions-reduction strategy is based on power plant upgrades, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs

Xcel Energy announced a 16 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, or 14 million tons, since the utility in 2005 began a reduction strategy in its eight-state service territory. The company's goal is to achieve a 20 percent carbon dioxide reduction by 2020, and the latest projections are that it will surpass that goal by up to 7 percent.

Xcel Energy's emissions-reduction strategy is based on power plant upgrades, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

Fuel diversity is a part of the overall strategy. Xcel Energy provides power from sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro, biomass and solar.

At the end of 2012, Xcel Energy had nearly 4,900 MW of wind energy generating capacity on its system, enough to power 1.5 million homes and at least 600 MW more than the next leading utility. Wind power currently represents about 12 percent of the energy the company supplies to its customers, and additional wind resources are being sought in Colorado, the Upper Midwest and Texas.

Xcel Energy's efficiency programs have had an impact as well. Since 1992, enough electricity has been saved through the company's efficiency programs to avoid the need to build nearly 10 medium-sized power plants in Minnesota.

Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.

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