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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

Trump pardons former fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.

Trump pardons Bannon in final hours of presidency

Steve Bannon. Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

President Trump issued an eleventh-hour pardon to his former chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday night, sparing a longtime ally from a federal fraud prosecution over his alleged misappropriation of nonprofit funds.

Why it matters: Bannon was the most high-profile name on a White House list of what's expected to be dozens pardons and commutations, with hours remaining in Trump’s presidency. His pardon of the former Breitbart News chief came as Bannon faced criminal charges stemming from a scheme to privately finance a southern border wall.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.