Xcel Energy announces net-zero greenhouse gas goal by 2050

Xcel Energy announced Monday its plans to be an overall net-zero energy company by 2050 are extending to its natural gas business. It plans to meet the goal by becoming net-zero on greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to earlier plans to provide carbon-free electricity by 2050.

In April, Xcel announced plans to build the largest solar project in state history.

“Our vision for delivering net-zero energy by 2050 is an important evolution in our clean energy leadership,” said Bob Frenzel, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We’ve expanded our commitment to deliver clean energy across all the ways we power customers’ lives, while keeping our service reliable and affordable. These efforts will promote innovation, provide customers with even more new energy options and significantly reduce emissions.”

Xcel recently requested a rate increase of 20%. The announcement comes as experts warn heating costs could increase significantly this winter.

Three environmental activist groups, Fresh Energy, Western Resource Advocates, and RMI commended Xcel on its announcement but added additional direct emission reductions and accounting are necessary.

Joe Dammel, Director of Gas Decarbonization at Fresh Energy said, “In order to achieve the level of carbon reductions supported by the latest science and to meet Minnesota’s state-level goals, Xcel and Minnesota’s other gas utilities must commit to scalable, cost-effective, and equitable solutions to make the transition away from the fossil gas system as we know it."

Xcel says it will accelerate its plans for reducing methane emissions, including purchasing natural gas only from suppliers with certified low emissions and continuing to improve its natural gas delivery system to achieve net-zero methane emissions by 2030. It expects to reduce nearly 80 million tons of carbon by 2030, equivalent to the carbon removed by nearly 1.2 billion trees. The company is more than halfway to that goal, having reduced carbon emissions by more than 40 million tons since 2005.