Xcel Energy has accelerated its energy engine in utility markets
across the US. The utility holding company distributes electricity
to 3.4 million customers and natural gas to 1.9 million
in eight states through four regulated utilities; Colorado and
Minnesota account for most of its customers.
Its utilities -- Northern States Power (NSP-Minnesota and
NSP-Wisconsin), Public Service Company of Colorado, and
Southwestern Public Service (in New Mexico and Texas)
-- have the combined capacity of more than 17,000 MW of
electricity. Xcel owns transmission and distribution lines, as
well as natural gas assets. It is also a leading wind
power provider in the US, with wind farms in Colorado, Minnesota,
The company serves customers in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota,
New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Xcel operates power and gas utilities: Northern States
Power Company-Minnesota; Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin,
Public Service Company of Colorado; and Southwestern Public Service
Company. The holding company has more than 80 generating
plants, more than 87,750 miles of transmission lines and about
191,840 miles of distribution lines. It also operates an
interstate natural gas pipeline company and a joint venture to
develop and lease natural gas pipelines, storage, and compression
assets. Xcel's commercial operations manage the generation fleet
and all wholesale activities for Xcel Energy's four public utility
Sales and Marketing
The company's major commercial and industrial electric sales are
to customers in the petroleum and coal, as well as food products
industries. It also serves small commercial and industrial
customers, and gets significant electric retail sales from real
estate customers and school systems and universities.
Xcel's revenues dropped by 5% in 2012 primarily due to 15%
decrease in Natural Gas revenues due to the higher purchased
natural gas costs and a 3% decrease in the Electric revenues as a
result of lower fuel and purchased power cost recovery.
However, net income increased by 8% in 2012 thanks to lower demand
leading to the reduced cost of natural gas sold and transported.
Demand was also lower because of reduced conservation and demand
side management program expenses.
To meet the demands both of customers and regulators, Xcel plans
to invest $13 billion in its utility businesses from 2013 through
2017 to modernize infrastructure, improve system reliability,
reduce environmental pollution, and expand the amount of renewable
energy available to its customers. Xcel has long-term plans to move
from coal-fired plants to natural gas, and on to
alternative fuels such as wind, solar, and biomass to boost
its green power capacity (88,705 MWh by 2015).
In 2013 the company announced an expanded agreement with the
National Center For Atmospheric Research for sophisticated
renewable energy forecasting as a way to help it save millions of
dollars. In 2012 Xcel was seeking proposals for renewable resources
other than wind or solar as part of its plan to diversify
Southwestern Public Service Company renewable energy portfolio.
As one of the largest US utility wind energy
providers, Xcel produced more than 2,100 KWh of wind energy in
2012. In 2011 Xcel bought the 200 MW Limon Wind
Energy Center, which will have 125 turbines in Lincoln and Elbert
counties on Colorado's Front Range east of Denver. The company is
also the US's fifth-largest utility solar energy provider and owns
the fourth-largest transmission system. In addition, Xcel operates
more than 25 hydroelectric power plants in Colorado, Minnesota, and
The company believes its strategy of making environmentally
sound investments is pivotal to its success. It is constructing the
CapX2020 project, a joint venture transmission expansion
project with 10 other utilities, scheduled for completion by
2020. The project includes a 240-mile transmission line from
Minnesota to North Dakota. The company has filed to extend the
licensing plants of its two nuclear plants on Prairie Island in
Minnesota for 20 years, which it expects to save customers
more than $1 billion compared to alternative sources.
Xcel plans to construct one of the largest biomass generating
plants in the Midwest. The facility, proposed for the Bay Front
Generating Station in Ashland, Wisconsin, will generate power from
burning wood waste in all three operating units by 2014. In
2012 Xcel had 532 MW of biomass generating power in Minnesota and