Xcel releases clean energy report touting SmartGrid, SolarTAC, Solar Rewards

Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electric utility with 1.3 million customers, released its annual Corporate Responsibility Report for 2009 on Thursday, touting several green energy projects in Colorado among its accomplishments in the company’s eight-state territory.

Overall, Xcel ended 2009 as the nation’s number one wind energy provider with 3,200 megawatts across its service territory. That represents 8 percent of Xcel’s fuel load, which is comprised of 15 percent renewable energy, including hydro, solar and other sources.

Among its 2009 accomplishments, Xcel listed SmartGrid City in Boulder, with 47,000 homes connected to the pilot program, and the Solar Technology and Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) facility in Aurora, billed as “one of the largest facilities in the world to test and demonstrate advanced solar technologies.”

The company also talked up its Solar Rewards program, first introduced in Colorado in 2006 and expanded to Minnesota and New Mexico in 2009. The program has accounted for more than 5,000 photovoltaic systems being installed by the end of 2009, and more than $110 million in incentives doled out to customers. The company finished the year as the 6th-largest provider of solar power in the country.

Xcel still relies on coal for 50 percent of its fuel load across its service territory, 24 percent natural gas and 12 percent nuclear. Its new Comanche 3 coal-fired plant will come on line near Pueblo soon, but the company has committed to shutting down or retrofitting several aging coal-fired plants in the state, converting them to natural gas.