- Xcel Energy, in its second quarter earnings report on Thursday, said it plans to significantly accelerate decarbonization efforts in its home state of Minnesota and will cut emissions by 85% by 2030.
- Xcel is preparing for a major transition, with long-time CEO and chairman Ben Fowke slated to retire in August and turn over the reins to Bob Frenzel, president and chief operating officer. Frenzel will become president and CEO on Aug. 18, the company announced in May. Fowke has served as CEO since 2011, and will serve as executive chair of the company's board after retirement.
- Xcel reported earnings of $0.58 per share, or $311 million for the second quarter, up from $287 million, or $0.54 a share, during the same three-month period a year ago. Higher electric and natural gas margins helped boost revenues, Xcel said in its quarterly earnings release issued on Thursday.
Xcel Energy is pushing ahead with plans to add 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy generation in Minnesota and Colorado, Frenzel, the utility's incoming CEO, said during an earnings call with investors on Thursday.
Frenzel said he plans to continue to advance Xcel's transition away from fossil-fuel fired plants to renewable sources of energy, crediting Fowke, the utility's soon-to-be-retired CEO, with having slashed carbon emissions by 51% in 2020 compared to 2005 levels.
"I am honored with the opportunity to lead this company and recognize the LeBron James-sized shoes I am filling," Frenzel said. "We will continue to lead the clean energy transition … and I am confident in our ability to capitalize on the growth opportunities in front of us."
In a major step in that direction, Xcel last month filed plans with Minnesota regulators to boost efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, raising its target emissions reductions from its previous goal of 80% to 85%.
In response to what it described as "significant opposition," Xcel has dropped plans for a combined cycle natural gas plant in the town of Becker to replace a coal-fired plant there, the company noted in its earnings release.
Xcel said it still plans to shut down the "A.S. King coal plant (511 MW) in 2028 and Sherco 3 coal plant (517 MW) in 2030," while "extending the life of the Monticello nuclear plant from 2030 to 2040."
The company's revised Minnesota resource plan also calls for adding:
- 3,150 MW of solar;
- 2,650 MW of wind;
- 250 MW of storage;
- 800 MW of new hydrogen-ready combustion-turbines (CTs);
- 1,900 MW of other firm dispatchable resources;
- 155 miles of new transmission lines;
- and repowering 300 MW of blackstart CTs.
In addition, Xcel's Minnesota resource plan also calls for the utility to make big gains on the energy efficiency front.
Excel said it is targeting "780 gigawatt hours in energy efficiency savings annually through 2034," while also "adding 400 MW of incremental demand response by 2023 and a total of 1,500 MW of demand response by 2034," the utility noted in its quarterly earnings report.
Xcel is also moving ahead with major renewable investments in Colorado and Wisconsin as well.
The Public Service Co. of Colorado, Xcel's subsidiary, submitted a proposal in March to state regulators for a $1.7 billion transmission project.
The "560-mile, 345 kilovolt double circuit transmission network" would "enable approximately 4,000-5,000 MW of renewable generation in eastern Colorado," according to Xcel.
And in Wisconsin, the state Public Service Commission gave a green light to Xcel subsidiary NSP Wisconsin's $100 million acquisition of the "74 MW Western Mustang build-own-transfer solar facility," the company noted in its earnings report.
"We recently submitted an updated resource plan in Minnesota, which will allow us to reach our carbon reduction goals faster and at a lower cost to our customers," Fowke said in a press statement.