For the tenth consecutive year, Xcel Energy has been named the country’s top wind energy provider, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2013. For a decade, Xcel Energy has led the nation in providing wind energy to its customers.
“Xcel Energy is proud to be among the nation’s leaders in delivering affordable, clean energy from renewable sources,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president, and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We embraced wind energy early because it’s clean, cost-effective, and will protect our customers against rising fuel prices in the future.”
As of 2013, Xcel Energy had 5,080 MW of wind energy on its systems, enough wind power to meet the energy needs of about 2.5 million homes. Wind also was about 15 percent of the company’s energy supply, and by 2020 Xcel Energy projects it will be more than 20 percent.
Through state-of-the-art wind forecasting tools, Xcel Energy continues to save customers money and set national records for the amount of wind energy on its system. One early morning hour in May 2013, wind energy provided more than 60 percent of Xcel Energy’s electricity supply on its Colorado system, which is a national record. The company also estimates it has saved $37.5 million in fuel costs since working to improve wind forecasting in 2009.
“We’ve been fortunate to operate in states with both excellent wind resources and policies that support the fair and cost-effective development of wind power,” said Frank Prager, vice president for policy and strategy at Xcel Energy. “These things have enabled us to increase the use of renewable energy and to reduce emissions at a reasonable cost for customers.”
Leading the nation in wind energy over the past decade also has played a key role in Xcel Energy’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The company is well ahead of its goal of reducing carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels, and projects a 31 percent reduction by 2020.
Last year, Xcel Energy announced plans to expand its wind power use by another 40 percent over the next several years. The company is finalizing approvals and agreements to participate in nine new projects that will add a total of 1,900 megawatts throughout its service territory, enough to serve about 900,000 homes. The projects are being offered at prices competitive with new natural gas-fueled generation and are estimated to save customers more than $900 million over the length of the contracts.
Also in 2013, the American Wind Energy Association recognized Xcel Energy as the Utility of the Year for the second time in five years for the company’s commitment to new wind energy acquisitions and progressive wind integration efforts.