Picture a world with electricity, but no carbon emissions. That’s exactly what Xcel Energy has dreamed of, and they plan to achieve it by 2050.
The recent announcement has many people excited for the future. “We’re hoping that their action of doing this will help other utilities here in the West think about it too,” said Eric Rechel, the co-chair of the Uncompahgre Group Sierra Club.
Those with Xcel Energy said this move does not necessarily mean a total switch to renewable energy. “Zero carbon electricity and 100% renewable energy is not exactly the same thing… Not impacting our natural gas business, it’s really talking about our electricity business,” said Kelly Flenniken, an area manager for Xcel Energy.
A representative for the oil and natural gas industry said renewables are not very reliable. “We see all sorts of opportunities for natural gas. Renewables are very expensive at the current level of technologies… Consumers want to know when they go home at night they have heat in their homes and electricity, that the lights come on, and renewables have had problems with reliability,” said Eric Carlson, the executive director of the West Slope Oil and Gas Association.
Xcel Energy said they plan to tackle those issues. “Priorities are of course reliability, and affordability, followed by sustainability,” said Flenniken.
The plan hopes to help with climate change. “At Xcel Energy, we believe in science… Without question that global carbon emissions pose a potential risk to our climate,” said Flenniken.
Part of this plan includes cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2030.
Those with Xcel Energy also mentioned they are reliant on future technologies to achieve their carbon-free goal.