Renewable, non-emitting sources of energy are a growing part of our energy mix. These sources can provide cost-effective energy to our customers and help hedge against more volatile fuel prices.Our renewable energy portfolio includes wind, hydro power, refuse-derived fuel and biomass.
Our involvement in wind generation extends back to 1980. Today, with operations in Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas, Xcel Energy is the nation's leading purchaser of wind power, with 1,048 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, according to the annual industry ranking report released March 15, 2006 by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Our Windsource® program, available in Colorado, New Mexico and Minnesota, ranks number one in total number of customer participants (nearly 50,000) by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in its annual ranking of leading utility green power programs (2006, 2007).
Wind to Hydrogen Demonstration Project
We are working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on a unique project that uses electricity from wind turbines to produce and store pure hydrogen, offering what may become an important new template for future energy production. The project aims to overcome the intermittent aspect of wind energy by enabling energy storage for later use when the wind isn't blowing or the demand for electricity is high.
Our 28 hydroelectric plants, located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado account for more than 500 megawatts of generating capacity - enough electricity to serve half a million typical homes.
Refuse derived fuel
We have four power plants that produce electricity from wood waste or fuel derived from municipal solid waste or garbage. The processed waste provides a low-cost fuel and reduces the amount of material going to landfills.
We have contracts for about 110 megawatts of electricity from biomass, or organic fuel sources. We're also exploring new and emerging technologies to meet customers' electricity needs and reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation. One is a wind-to-hydrogen demonstration project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a way to get more energy out of our wind resources. Another involves greater use of solar generation.