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    US utility Xcel Energy commits to net-zero by 2050

Summary

New goals include reducing methane and Scope 3 emissions.

by: Dale Lunan

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US utility Xcel Energy commits to net-zero by 2050

US utility Xcel Energy, which delivers energy to “millions” of homes across eight western and Midwestern states, said November 1 it would target net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its natural gas business by 2050.

The utility has already set a target to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050; it now wants to extend that aspiration to all its corporate activities.

“Our vision for delivering net-zero energy by 2050 is an important evolution in our clean energy leadership,” Xcel Energy CEO Bob Frenzel said. “We’ve expanded our commitment to deliver clean energy across all the ways we power customers’ lives, while keeping our service reliable and affordable.”

In 2020, the company pledged to power 1.5mn electric vehicles in its service area by 2030 and is now committing to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030 on its way to net-zero by 2050.

It is also accelerating its plans for reducing methane emissions, a key goal of which will be to purchase only natural gas certified as responsibly-produced. It is also continuing to improve its natural gas delivery systems to achieve net-zero methane emissions by 2030.

Besides its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emission reduction efforts, Xcel Energy is also developing new and expanded plans to assist its customers in reducing their own carbon emissions from natural gas use – Scope 3 emissions.

“Those programs will include support for both conserving natural gas and others that will encourage the use of electric appliances and low-carbon gas alternatives, including hydrogen and renewable natural gas,” it said. As part of this effort, it is launching a series of pilots to test renewable natural gas, smart electric water heaters and air source heat pumps with its customers, and will test both hydrogen production and the blending of hydrogen into its natural gas delivery system.