Does Xcel Make the Grade on Clean Energy for Minnesota?
On May 20, Xcel Energy released a preview of its 15-year plan for what kind of energy resources it’s going to use to keep the lights on for Minnesota. Through this summer and fall, regulators at the Public Utilities Commission will be hearing from stakeholders and ultimately making a decision on the energy path forward for Xcel – an outcome that will have a massive impact on power bills, clean energy progress, and the health of Minnesota’s communities for years to come. That’s why we teamed up with local partners to grade the utility giant on its proposal.
So, did Xcel’s preliminary plan make the grade? We gave it mixed marks on its clean energy report card and recommended summer school to make the necessary improvements.
Xcel gets good grades for its long-term plan to get 100% of its power from renewable energy and its near-term plans for shutting down polluting coal plants, but it gets failing and incomplete marks on some pieces that are key to building a 100% clean energy future that works for everyone.
Here’s what we’d like to see Xcel improve:
- Despite its lofty clean energy goals, the utility has plans to build more fracked gas power plants and infrastructure in Minnesota. There is no reason to shackle Minnesotans like you to even more dependence on risky, expensive and polluting gas for decades more when clean energy is ready to reliably and affordably get the job done today.
- The plan calls for monopoly Xcel to continue owning and operating big centralized renewable energy power plants, but Minnesota needs a new kind of clean energy system that puts consumers in charge and keeps the way clear for Minnesota families, businesses and communities to participate (hello solar!).
- The utility does not have much of a plan for ensuring equitable access so that everyone, including low-income families, rural communities, and frontline communities, has the opportunity to benefit from the state’s growing clean energy economy. We say: the sun shines for everyone, and solar should too.
Big thanks to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Sierra Club, Community Power, Environment Minnesota and Minnesota 350 for partnering with us on this report card.
We’re working at the Commission to make the case for an Xcel Energy plan that maximizes clean energy, minimizes polluting power, and gives every Xcel customer the opportunity to be part of Minnesota’s clean energy economy — regardless of income or what kind of community you call home. We’ll find opportunities for Minnesotans to make your voice heard in this important process.
Since this blog was originally shared with our Members, Xcel has released its full plan for public review. As we work with others in the advocacy community to fully digest the 3,685 pages (!!!) that Xcel filed with the plan, we will update the report card to reflect the full plan. And we will continue to share with you our conclusions and recommendations as we prepare to engage with the Commission to advance the clean energy agenda.