Xcel Energy today announced a new transportation vision that drives toward providing the infrastructure and energy to run all vehicles in its service area on carbon-free electricity or other clean energy by 2050. Expanding upon the company’s existing 2030 electric vehicle (EV) vision supports its overall goal to become a net-zero energy provider by 2050. By enabling a zero-carbon transportation future, the company’s clean energy can also help customers save billions of dollars in fuel costs and deliver cleaner air for everyone.
“Xcel Energy is making incredible progress and has already reduced power sector carbon emissions by 50% since 2005,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president, and CEO of Xcel Energy. “As we expand our clean energy leadership to transportation, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the nation, we know that electric vehicles are a key component of our comprehensive strategy to be a net-zero energy provider by 2050.”
Xcel Energy’s zero-carbon transportation vision for 2050 includes:
- Providing the fueling infrastructure and energy system to run all vehicles in its service area on carbon-free electricity or other clean energy.
- Ensuring all customers can access affordable, convenient electric vehicle charging at or within one mile of their homes and that underserved communities have opportunities to participate in Xcel Energy programs and the economic development benefits associated with zero-carbon transportation.
- Operating a zero-carbon Xcel Energy fleet.
Xcel Energy was the first in the industry to set ambitious greenhouse gas goals across all the ways its customers use energy: electricity, heating and transportation. The new vision complements the company’s interim goal of enabling one out of five vehicles in the areas it serves to be electric by 2030 which was announced in August of 2020. Under its 2050 vision, all vehicles would run on zero-carbon fuel, which may be electricity or other clean energy like carbon-free hydrogen for future fuel cell electric vehicles.
“To avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades,” said Jason Albritton, director, climate and energy policy, The Nature Conservancy. “Meeting this challenge will require all companies to reduce emissions from their own operations and work collaboratively with governments, NGO partners, and customers to drive innovation and climate action. A carbon-free transportation sector is essential for meeting climate goals and will provide significant health benefits, particularly in urban areas. Today’s commitment from Xcel Energy is an important step and will hopefully serve as an example to businesses from all economic sectors while spurring additional state and federal policy action to address the climate crisis.”
“Xcel Energy’s goal for a zero-carbon transportation sector in their service territory by 2050 is the type of ambitious commitment needed to decarbonize one of the highest emitting sectors of the economy,” said Armond Cohen, President of Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “CATF looks forward to seeing concrete programs developed and implemented to achieve this goal—including further details on enabling an equitable transition and providing zero-carbon fuels like hydrogen for the transportation sector—and we hope to see other utilities pursuing similar commitments.”
With Xcel Energy increasing the amount of renewable and carbon-free energy on its system, an electric vehicle powered with Xcel Energy electricity in 2021 was over 55% cleaner than a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle and is expected to be at least 80% cleaner by 2030, under its plans for reducing carbon emissions. Lower cost is another key benefit – charging an EV during off-peak rate periods currently costs the equivalent of about $1 per gallon of gasoline or less, saving customers $1 billion annually on fuel by 2030.
“Xcel Energy has been a national leader in both decarbonizing its generation fleet and promoting forward-leaning policies on transportation electrification for the past several years, and now it is taking the conversation to a new level,” said Phil Jones, Executive Director, Alliance for Transportation Electrification (ATE). “In addition to its bold vision, Xcel Energy is also proposing specific and tangible programs in its States to accelerate progress now. The utility must play a key role in enabling this market transformation, engaging with its host sites and customers, and managing the charging data in a way that benefits both the customers and the overall electric grid. That is why ATE and I support this plan strongly and will work to bring these programs and tariffs to a tangible reality soon.”
To help make its clean transportation vision a reality, Xcel Energy will continue expanding programs, including those that make charging EVs at home, at work and on the go convenient and affordable for all customers. Its transportation vision supports everyone in the communities it serves to experience the benefits of electric transportation, whether they own an EV, use public transit, or benefit from improved air quality. The 2030 interim goal also aligns with several state targets in its service areas, such as those of Colorado and Minnesota.
“Xcel Energy is embarking on a vision to place diversity, equity and inclusion at the center of this strategy and sets a path forward to provide access to clean transportation for all,” said Terry Travis, managing partner of EVNoire. “We view this effort as a step towards a vision for a cleaner and greener transportation future benefitting all communities.”
Expanding electric vehicle programs and public charging
To help drive toward this clean transportation future, the company today filed proposals in Minnesota and Wisconsin for new and enhanced electric vehicle charging programs to make charging at home easy, fast and more affordable for all customers. The proposal also includes expanded solutions supporting public charging, businesses, multifamily buildings, community charging, transit and electric school buses.
The proposal would significantly increase the number of public EV charging stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, making it easier for drivers to charge on the go, by adding about 750 high-speed charging stations across the two states, including up to about 1,500 charging ports total by 2026. This expansion positions the Upper Midwest as a national leader in accessible, affordable charging options, allowing Xcel Energy to work with interested communities and site hosts to locate charging stations in both urban and rural areas, particularly along interstates, state highways and other traffic corridors.
The proposal also enhances the successful EV Accelerate at Home program, which provides a turn-key option working with local electricians to install a home charger, in both states to better meet customers’ needs and expands programs and charger options to help businesses provide EV charging for employees, renters, fleet vehicles and the public.
These proposals are in addition to existing offers in some of Xcel Energy’s states that support the vision. In 2021, the company launched a record 14 new clean transportation programs in Colorado and Minnesota, and this year, rolled out a suite of new EV programs for customers in New Mexico. The new programs are in addition to those already offered to customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In Minnesota, an electric school bus pilot is also proposed, as part of the company’s partnerships, research and innovation initiative. Through the school bus pilot, Xcel Energy will help address the significant upfront cost and operational challenges of transitioning to electric buses and better understand how these buses can most efficiently support and integrate into the electric grid, among other research objectives. Pending regulatory approval, the 32 buses will be used in a vehicle-to-grid demonstration project to help maximize the benefits of electric buses to schools and to the electric grid.
For more information on EVs and available programs, visit xcelenergy.com/EV.