Does Xcel Make the Grade?

Category2019 grade
2020 grade
Rationale
Equitable access to energy savings and jobsDD+
Xcel earned a slightly higher grade due to its increasing low-income energy efficiency investment to double the minimum requirement. Although it didn’t change the substance, the reorganized report’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion was very helpful to understanding the Company’s work in those areas. Xcel did not respond to critiques in the original report card concerning frontline community stakeholders, inclusive energy financing, or its lobbying efforts to restrict community solar
Progress to 100% REBB+No major changes
Retires CoalAANo major changes
Avoids GasFF
No major changes, however it was striking that the new modeling did not include a scenario to test whether the proposed gas plant at Becker is the most economical option. Additionally, the proposed new gas investment undercuts beneficial electrification opportunities.
Supports Energy IndependenceDD
Although the forecast went up slightly, the utility has no plans to change its approach to distributed generation. Useful in context: the St. Paul Climate Action asks for 200 MW of local solar by 2030; Minneapolis asks for 10% local renewable energy; Xcel’s forecast total is for 273 MW of rooftop solar by 2034, which is roughly the same amount added in 2018 alone).
Supports Communities and WorkersC+B-
While the plan improves details on how the utility will support Xcel workers, it doesn’t provide much more detail for contractors or non-Xcel workers. The economic development plan for Becker has a bit more detail, but it promotes polluting options (Northern Metals and a gas plant) instead of clean ones like solar plus storage (the Becker solar proposal in Xcel Energy’s COVID response docket is much better).
Plans for Transportation ElectrificationB+B+While Xcel Energy’s COVID docket has additional investments, there were no major changes in the revised IRP.