XCEL Energy

InfluenceMap Score
C-
Performance Band
54%
Organisation Score
66%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Minneapolis, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Xcel Energy (Xcel) engages on U.S. climate policy with mixed positions and demonstrates a lobbying presence across several states including Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Although the company has supported renewable energy tax credits, it appears to advocate for a prominent role for fossil gas. Xcel is a member of the Edison Electric Institute and serves on the board of the American Gas Association, both of which promote the long-term role of fossil gas in the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Xcel has limited top-line messaging on climate policy and does not appear to have taken an explicit position on the Paris Agreement or the need to reduce GHG emissions in line with IPCC science. In a February 2021 Economist article, former CEO Ben Fowke stated that the company prefers legislation over climate-related regulations as it is “not as subject to change.” In a June 2021 op-ed in Utility Dive, however, Fowke appeared to support US federal policies to respond to climate change.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: Xcel demonstrates mixed positions on U.S. climate policies. The company has been supportive of federal legislation, signing a January 2022 joint letter organized by the American Clean Power Association that advocated to Congressional leadership to pass the Build Back Better Act’s clean energy tax credits. However, Xcel is actively unsupportive of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed methane emissions standards: in January 2022 comments to the EPA, it stated that “it is important to recognize that attaining zero emissions from the natural gas supply chain is likely not feasible, cost-effective, nor necessary to meet climate goals.” The company also signed the January 2022 comments by the Class of ’85 Regulatory Response Group that appeared to oppose updates to the methane regulations.

Xcel demonstrates more negative positions on state-level climate proposals. According to its lobbying reports, Xcel directly engaged with policymakers in March 2022 to oppose Colorado Senate Bill 22-138, which proposed 2028 and 2040 statewide GHG emissions reduction goals. Xcel similarly opposed Colorado Senate Bill 21-200 in April 2021, which proposed GHG emissions reduction targets for utilities. In its 2019 Carbon Report, Xcel described 762270 distributed energy generation] policies as “hidden and unfair subsidies,” which reflects in its more current engagement on community solar policies: in Wisconsin in August 2021, subsidiary Northern States Power opposed Senate Bill 490, which aimed to establish community solar programs in the state. In a March 2022 hearing at the Minnesota House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, Xcel appeared to emphasize the cost of proposed energy storage legislation, stating that “subsidies have the potential to make this all the more regressive.”

Positioning on Energy Transition: Xcel takes mixed positions on the transition of the energy mix, supporting transport electrification measures while promoting a long-term role for fossil gas. At the federal level, the company submitted June 2022 comments on the EPA Draft White Paper with the Class of ’85 Regulatory Response Group that emphasized reliability concerns with moving away from fossil gas in the energy mix. However, Xcel also submitted October 2022 joint comments with several utilities that supported the fuel-switching provisions in the Department of Energy’s gas furnace energy efficiency proposal.

Xcel actively engages on state-level policies related to the energy transition, especially in Colorado. According to its April 2022 lobbying reports, Xcel supported Senate Bill 22-193, which aimed to reduce emissions through a wide range of policies. In the same month, in comments on Colorado’s Draft 2022 Clean Truck Strategy, Xcel advocated for state policymakers to begin the rulemaking process to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule. As reported by the Energy and Policy Institute in February 2022, Xcel co-launched the group Coloradans for Energy Access which advocates for the long-term role of fossil gas and opposes electrification in the state.

Industry Association Governance: Xcel has included an overview of its trade association memberships in its 2021 Sustainability Report, however fails to disclose details of each group’s engagement activities. The company has not published a formal review of its industry associations. Xcel CEO Frenzel serves on the Board of Directors for the American Gas Association (AGA), which demonstrates negative positions on U.S. climate policy, and the company is a member of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which demonstrates more mixed positions. AGA has been opposing implementation of the building electrification provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, and EEI continues to advocate for the long-term role of fossil gas in comments on regulatory proposals.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q1 2023.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
1NSNSNSNS11
NSNSNSNSNSNSNS
NS1NS1NS0NS
NSNSNSNSNSNSNS
0NA-2NANANANS
NSNS0NS-2NSNS
NSNS0-1NSNSNS
NSNS20NSNSNS
-12-1-1012
0110010
110-100NS
1NS-2NANANANS
NSNSNSNSNSNSNS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
90%
 
90%
 
26%
 
26%
 
90%
 
90%
 
58%
 
58%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.