POWER CAPACITY By Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electric utility, has reached a significant milestone for how much wind energy capacity is in its system. Xcel is now one of only two energy companies in the country to have the capability of producing 10,000 megawatts of energy using wind.
Xcel Energy said Wednesday that it had a total of 10,000 megawatts at the end of 2020. The Minneapolis- based utility said 10 new projects in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest contributed.
The only other company to reach the 10,000-megawatt mark is Berkshire Hathaway Energy, parent company of MidAmerican and PacifiCorp utilities, Sam Brock, spokesman for the American Clean Power Association, said in an email. Both companies reached the mark in the fourth quarter of 2020.
One megawatt of wind energy can power roughly 300 to 500 U.S. homes, according to the association.
As new projects start operating, Xcel Energy expects more than 31% of its energy capacity to come from wind by the end of this year.
“We launched an ambitious wind energy expansion in 2017 as part of our ongoing commitment to reduce carbon emissions while continuing to provide safe, reliable, and affordable service for our customers,” Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy, said in a statement.
Xcel Energy-Colorado President Alice Jackson said the company anticipates adding more renewable energy sources to its system as it works to meet the goal of cutting carbon emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2030.
The company announced in 2018 that it wants to be carbon-free by 2050. Xcel Energy-Colorado will file a new electric resource plan soon that is expected to include more wind-energy facilities, adding to the nearly 4,000 megawatts of existing wind power it has in the state. Xcel Energy officials said the wind farms have produced thousands of construction jobs, permanent operations and maintenance jobs, lease payments for landowners and tax revenue for local governments.