The streak continues for Xcel Energy. For the 11th consecutive year, Xcel has been named the top U.S. utility wind energy provider by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
In 2014, wind energy made up about 16% of the company's energy supply. Currently, Xcel Energy has nearly 5.8 GW of wind power in its portfolio. According to AWEA, Xcel Energy is the ï¬�rst U.S. utility to exceed 5 GW of wind. Only nine countries in the world – in addition to the states of Texas, Iowa and California, – have more than 5 GW of wind capacity, the utility notes.
‘Today, we have enough confidence in our wind operations and forecasts that we are able to back-down less efficient fossil fuel plants during times when high winds are predicted,’ says Frank Prager, vice president for policy and federal affairs at Xcel Energy. ‘It's a practice that is reducing fuel costs for customers and saving about 233,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.’
In 2013, Xcel Energy announced plans to expand its use of wind power by another 40% by 2016. The company is adding nine projects throughout its service territory, representing 1.9 GW of new wind energy resources. The projects were all acquired 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. At the end of 2014, one-third of this commitment was fulfilled, as three of the contracted wind projects came online in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma, totaling about 650 MW. The remaining six projects are on schedule to be completed later this year.