Ben Fowke: 'If that insurance policy is at little or no extra cost, I'm not sure why we wouldn't do it.'

Xcel Chairman explains his company's initiative to reduce carbon emissions 100% by 2050

Paul and Jordana
December 12, 2018 - 5:41 pm

Dan Cook

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Last week Xcel Energy announced a plan to become the first public utility to eliminate all carbon emission in its electricity by 2050.

Xcel Chairman Ben Fowke told Paul and Jordana, “Right now, we’ve already reduced carbon emissions by 35% since 2005. We have plans across all of our eight states to get to 60% by 2030, but we wanted to do more.”

As large as those reductions are, Fowke says they could be even larger. “By 2050 we want to be at zero carbon and by 2030 we want have an 80% carbon reduction.”

But Xcel Energy won’t be able to accomplish those goals on their own. “To get to that zero carbon goal we’ll have to see some technologies develop and become commercially viable,” Fowke said, “And if you look at the pace of technology just in the last 10 years, I’m confident we’re going to get there.”

So why is this an important initiative for Xcel Energy?

“First of all, as we’ve read the reports, the science of climate change suggests that it’s getting more dire, not better,” said Fowke, “Second, I think it’s really important to deliver what your customers want. Our customers want a cleaner energy product. And finally, I think if you do it right, there’s an opportunity for us to invest and drive opportunities that are good for our shareholders.”

For those that question how much humanity impacts climate change, Fowke says he sees reducing carbon emissions as an insurance policy.

“If that insurance policy is at little or no extra cost, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t do it,” Fowke told Paul and Jordana, “and I really hope what I can do in my role is to try and bridge some of this political divide and let’s just focus on the issue and let’s be pragmatic about it because I think we can solve it if we work together.”

 Listen to the entire interview with Paul and Jordana: