Dec 5, 2018

Xcel Energy says it's going carbon-free by 2050

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The multi-state power company Xcel Energy says it will provide 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050.

Why it matters: It appears to be the first large utility to set a fully emissions-free goal for its generation mix, and Xcel also announced an interim 2030 target of cutting its emissions by 80%.

  • The company, which serves customers in 8 western and midwestern states, says on its website that in 2017 it provided 40% of its power from zero-carbon sources — a mix of nuclear, wind and other renewables.

The big picture: The move is a stark — albeit long-term — sign of the transformation of the U.S. power mix as natural gas and renewables have been shoving aside coal.

  • However, via Bloomberg, the company is not pledging to end its use of fossil fuels. "The company would consider using systems designed to capture and trap carbon dioxide emissions from gas or coal plants," they report.

Where it stands: Utility Dive looks at the announcement in the context of what some other players in the utility space are doing. From their piece:

"While Xcel is the first large utility to commit to eliminating carbon pollution, a number of smaller, municipally-owned power providers have pledged to move to 100% renewables alongside local policy goals. And the CEO of Southern Co., another large utility, has said his company will be 'low to no carbon' by 2050."

Go deeper: Google's 24-7 carbon-free goal

Go deeper

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President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

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A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

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What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.