Xcel Energy Announces Ambitious Plan To Eliminate Carbon Emissions by 2050

Xcel Energy’s Tolk and Harrington Texas coal plants still in operation

Vanessa Ramos: vanessa.ramos@sierraclub.org, 512.586.1853

Austin, TEXAS. -- This afternoon, Xcel Energy announced its commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. This is the first major interstate utility in the U.S. to commit to eliminating carbon emissions. Xcel’s move to a zero-emissions grid exceeds the emissions reductions set by the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, which the Trump Administration rejected in a futile effort to boost the coal industry and undermine clean energy’s progress.

In Colorado, Xcel Energy has already proven it can sharply cut carbon emissions and save customers money by shifting directly from dirty coal to clean energy resources like solar and wind. In August, Xcel earned approval from the Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission to replace two units at the state’s largest coal plant with a combination of wind, solar, and battery storage after finding it could save customers more than $200 million. That plan alone will help Xcel cut its carbon emissions in Colorado in half by 2026, from a 2005 baseline.

While Xcel’s work to advance clean energy in the West is worth celebrating, the utility continues to invest in a fossil fuel expansion in the upper Midwest, with recently-announced plans to add gas. It is critical that this commitment to zero-emissions ramp up investments in solar, wind, battery storage, and energy efficiency across its service territory.

Xcel serves customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas.

In response, Chrissy Mann, Senior Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Texas, issued the following statement:

“We are excited about the climate and consumer-friendly decision to invest in clean energy. We hope Xcel doesn't forget that it is operating both Tolk and Harrington - dirty dangerous coal plants in Texas that are impacting both climate and the skies above our national parks. Xcel should accelerate its plans to phase out these Texas coal plants, and should move forward with more affordable clean energy for Texas consumers too.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.