Xcel Energy demonstrated its environmental leadership in 2016 by reducing carbon emissions 30 percent and expanding its renewable energy portfolio. The company released its Corporate Responsibility Report highlighting results Xcel Energy achieved as it transitions to cleaner energy sources and provides other benefits to the communities it serves, including industry-leading energy efficiency programs, economic development and energy assistance support. "We know our success is tied to our communities' success," said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO, Xcel Energy. "Growing and vibrant communities support our business, while clean and affordable energy powers our communities. As a responsible community partner, we are committed to delivering on our shared goals and continually raise the bar on our performance." In 2016, Xcel Energy reduced carbon emissions 30 percent since 2005, four years earlier than expected and now anticipates it will achieve at least a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions system wide by 2021. The emission reductions result from a number of steps the company is taking to transform how it produces and delivers energy, including adding significant amounts of low-cost wind and solar energy and encouraging energy efficiency. The company is also retiring aging coal units and repowering some facilities with cleaner natural gas. In 2016, renewable energy made up 25 percent of Xcel Energy's electricity supply. By 2021 more than 40 percent of its electricity is expected to come from renewables as the company pursues the nation's largest multi-state investment in wind energy with new wind farms planned in seven states. Other key results Xcel Energy delivered in 2016 include:
- Reducing air emissions, such as nitrogen oxide, by approximately 70 percent and cutting water consumption by 35 percent at its plants.
- Offering a comprehensive portfolio of more than 150 energy-saving programs that combined, help customers annually save about a terawatt-hour of electricity—enough to power more than 142,000 homes.
- Spending $2.4 billion with local businesses—70 percent of its spending on goods and services. Approximately 96 percent of employee hiring is also local within the states that the company serves, and more than 14 percent of newly hired employees in 2016 were military veterans.
- Contributing $63.4 million in 2016 to local communities. This includes $47.8 million in energy assistance that helped customers in need with their energy bills and $3.9 million in grants through the Xcel Energy Foundation to 350 nonprofits for STEM education, economic sustainability, environmental stewardship, and arts and culture.
- Helping to keep the public safe, by increasing awareness for contractors and others to call 811 before they dig, which has reduced our damage incident-rate for underground pipes and wires for every 1,000 locate calls by 28 percent since 2008.