Renewable Energy Portfolio ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Today in Minnesota, Xcel Energy presented a plan that charts a path to more than double its renewable energy portfolio and delivers nation-leading carbon emission reductions, while maintaining a diverse energy mix that helps keep costs reasonable for customers. The proposal is outlined in the company’s 2016-2030 Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan.
“Xcel Energy already is a leader in delivering clean, renewable energy at an affordable price to our customers,” said Chris Clark, president of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.
Our resource plan proposes nation-leading carbon emission reductions and renewable energy integration. It charts a course to cost-effectively meet and exceed the carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency requirements of the states we serve in the Upper Midwest.
The plan is driven by achieving aggressive reductions in carbon emissions from 2005 levels – a 30 percent reduction by 2020 and a 40 percent reduction by 2030 – to meet expected federal carbon requirements.
“In this resource plan, we have focused on the long-term implications of energy policy goals in the context of an evolving utility industry,” Clark said.
We, along with our regulators and stakeholders, have a unique opportunity to work together to agree on a vision and the decisions necessary to achieve it.
“The resource plan should be viewed in the context of the e21 Initiative Phase I Report: Charting a Path to a 21st Century Energy System in Minnesota, and Xcel Energy’s Dec. 22 letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission seeking a meeting to discuss a potential roadmap for advancing the e21 vision,” Clark said.
“In light of the evolution occurring in our industry, we believe a comparable evolution in the regulatory and utility business model is necessary if this vision is to be achieved,” he said.
Carbon reductions described in the resource plan would be achieved by:
• Adding 600 megawatts of wind by 2020 and 1,200 megawatts by 2030, bringing total wind power on Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest system to over 3,600 megawatts. • Adding 187 megawatts of large-scale solar energy by the end of 2016 and an additional 1,700 megawatts of large-scale solar and 500 megawatts of customer-driven small-scale solar – such as rooftop solar panels and solar gardens – bringing total solar power on the company’s Upper Midwest system to about 2,400 megawatts; • Operating the carbon-free, baseload Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants through their current licenses, which begin expiring in 2030; and • Gradually decreasing reliance on Units 1 and 2 at Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Plant through 2030.
“The transition we are proposing could achieve significant carbon reductions by adding more renewables to our portfolio while dialing back reliance on Sherco Units 1 and 2.” Clark said.
We can achieve significant carbon reductions while retaining the benefits of this low-cost baseload resource, but we recognize that future environmental requirements may require significant investments into the plant that could change this analysis.
Our plan provides the strategic flexibility to address the future of Sherco Units 1 and 2 when the impacts of potential environmental regulation become clearer.
The resource plan was filed today with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and will be filed next week in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It will be available on Xcel Energy’s website, www.xcelenergy.com. Xcel Energy will file an update to the plan to reflect the impacts of the Minnesota commission’s Dec. 15 decisions in the company’s resource acquisition docket, which occurred too late to be included in today’s filing.
“We believe a robust dialogue with our stakeholders about the future is key to successfully implementing a clean energy future,” Clark said.
Because no short-term resources are needed now to reliably serve customers, we propose a more collaborative and cooperative stakeholder process than the traditional resource plan procedural rules typically provide.