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Published on January 28th, 2019 | by John Farrell


Good Public Policy Key To Building A Renewable-Friendly Utility

January 28th, 2019 by  

Originally published at ilsr.org.

So how do we get climate-friendly utilities? @xcelenergy is a leader among industry peers, but it was the visionary citizens and legislators in its markets who took the risk, made the map, built the roads, and gave them a push.

Everyone loves to salute the train’s locomotive, but it was the those that laid the track and built the engine that deserve most of the credit. Thank you, citizens of Minnesota, Colorado, and New Mexico for your leadership!

Read the original Twitter thread

So how did the citizens of these states build a pro-climate electric utility like @xcelenergy? Here’s a helpful timeline:

Timeline of State Policies Affecting Xcel Energy


In Exchange For Nuclear Waste Storage, Xcel Energy Gets A Wind Power Mandate

Then separate state-based companies, the Minnesota utility company asks the legislature for permission to store more nuclear waste at its nuclear power plants. The Legislature agrees, in exchange for 400 megawatts of wind (to double to 800 megawatts if proven … Read More


Xcel Has To Double Its Wind Power

With 400 megawatts of cost-effective wind energy on its grid, Xcel Minnesota is required by the 1994 agreement to double its wind portfolio to 800 megawatts.


New Mexico Tells Xcel To Get To 20% Renewable By 2020

The New Mexico legislature approves a renewable energy standard, requiring Xcel’s New Mexico division to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.


Colorado Voters Tell Xcel To Build Renewables

Colorado residents approve a ballot initiative requiring Xcel’s Colorado division to get 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, subsequently increased to 30% by 2020.


Minnesota Lawmakers Require Xcel To Reach 30% Renewable By 2020

The Minnesota legislature approves a renewable energy standard, requiring Xcel’s Minnesota division to get 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.


Minnesota Adds A Solar Requirement

The Minnesota legislature approves a solar energy standard, requiring Xcel’s Minnesota division to get an additional 1.5% of its electricity from solar energy by 2020.


Xcel CEO Says The Company Is Swapping “Steel For Fuel”

Xcel CEO says the company is swapping “steel for fuel,” investing heavily in wind and solar power because they are the most cost-effective.


Xcel Makes Landmark Pledge For Carbon-Free Electricity

In December 2018, Xcel Energy pledged to provide 80% carbon-free electricity on their entire system by 2030, and 100% carbon-free power by 2050. ILSR researchers raised three key questions.

P.S. Don’t forget to look under the hood as you cheer. Here’s three crucial questions about Xcel’s 2018 pledge to be carbon-free

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Marie Donahue on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update. 
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About the Author

directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.

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