Denver Metro Chamber Awards Xcel Green Business of the Year
FattE-Bikes and Nestlé Purina share finalist honors
Green Business of the Year
Winner: XCEL ENERGY
Xcel Energy is celebrating its 150th year in Colorado, a history that predates even electricity in the state. One of its most visible roles in those early days was to generate gas for the lights that lined downtown Denver.
Colorado’s largest utility is ahead of its time when it comes to adopting renewables and reducing carbon emissions, too. But Xcel Colorado President Alice Jackson says it wasn’t always that way for the company that boasts 1.4 million electric customers and 1.3 million natural gas customers from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope.
“A lot of people remember us for back in 2004 having an adverse reaction to moving forward with renewables in our state,” she says. “How times have changed in what we have done — the investments in technology we have made.”
Much of that investment has involved figuring out how to overcome the intermittent nature of energy provided by wind and solar.
As Jackson puts it, “The wind farms only work when wind blows and sun farms only work when the sun is shining. We had to get really good at figuring out how to forecast when those things are happening,” she says. “We grew from a point in 2004 when we were opposed to some of those methodologies being put in place, to now in 2019, where we’ve decreased the carbon on our system by 41 percent.”
It’s easy to take for granted or overlook that Xcel plays a fundamental role in the state’s economy, as the electric and gas provider to businesses throughout Colorado. And increasingly, Xcel is doing it with renewables.
“We are over 30 percent renewables on our system, and with the plan we’ve put forth … by 2025 we will achieve a 60 percent carbon reduction in our system,” Jackson says.
Achieving that would give Xcel an energy mix 55 percent renewables. To put that in context,” Jackson says, “That’s the highest percentage of any utility in the world.”
FattE-Bikes is Denver’s first electric bike company and only the producer of fat-tire electric bikes built in the U.S. With a completely solar powered facility, FattE-Bikes is helping take cars off the road one electric bike at a time. Electric bikes are the world’s most widely sold electric vehicle and, as FattE-Bikes is proving, can transform the way we commute.
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is a global pet care leader rooted in science and dedicated to helping pets live longer, healthier lives through proper nutrition and care. Purina’s 280-plus associates in Denver are committed to improving the quality of life for pets and their owners beyond the food bowl through sustainable practices and bringing their passion into the community where they call home.