Power on The Prairie: Xcel Energy

3 mins read
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Since its establishment over a century ago in 1909, Xcel Energy has been proud to deliver reliable and sustainable energy to more than 250,000 homes each year. North Dakota is home to three Xcel Energy wind facilities that are providing clean energy to North Dakotans and pushing the industry to a greater standard. I had the pleasure of connecting with Tony Grindberg, principle manager of Xcel Energy, where we discussed Grindberg’s role in the company, Xcel Energy’s strides towards carbon-free electricity, and how they play a part in keeping our lights on.

Tony Grinberg, Principal Manager of Xcel Energy

"We're very committed to our customers. Xcel Energy has been in business for 116 years. Our teams are very focused on making sure the lights come on in the morning through reliability. We have some of the highest percentages of reliability in the nation, all while affordably delivering power to our customers and the changing world."

People are passionate about energy

“Recently, the North Dakota News Cooperative released a study that gauged the public’s interest in North Dakota on climate change, electric vehicles, and affordability and reliability. The survey’s results showed that people care about their power being affordable first and foremost, while also wanting to promote a clean environment if possible. At the end of the day, we do what we do for our customers.”

– Tony Grindberg

Clean Energy Leadership

“We’re leading the clean energy transition, as the first major U.S. energy provider to announce a comprehensive vision with aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across three large sectors of the economy: electricity, natural gas use in buildings, and transportation.

  • By 2030, we’ll cut carbon emissions by more than 85% from the electricity we provide to Upper Midwest customers, compared to 2005, on our way to achieving our vision to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
  • We’ve already cut carbon emissions by 55% in the Upper Midwest from the electricity provided to customers.
  • Today, our energy mix is 69% carbon-free and 41% renewable.
  • We’ve been a national wind leader for more than a decade. Our Upper Midwest wind farms have saved customers about $1.6 billion in avoided fuel costs and tax credits since 2017.

– from Xcel Energy”

Xcel Energy’s Everchanging Future in Energy

Looking towards the future, both Xcel Energy and Grindberg appear to remain focused on adapting to the evolving demands and expectations of their customers. Grindberg’s insights show the importance of innovation while helping steer the company through the changing landscape of the energy sector. “Energy is something that everyone expects as a fundamental part of our livelihood. The way Xcel Energy generated power 116 years ago is markedly different from how we generate power today,” Grindberg said.

“Our approach to doing business has significantly evolved from how things were done in the 1920s, as is the case with any business. It’s likely that the way we operate today will not be the same 50 years from now. Adapting and adjusting to the demands and expectations of our customers is essential. In a changing world, it’s important to remain focused on the right direction, and we are proud to have consistently delivered in this way,” he said.

What do you believe is upcoming in the industry?

“What I believe, over time, is we’ll see more advanced nuclear energy production across the country. Our nuclear plants in Monticello, MN are large nuclear plants that generate 60 megawatts of power. Advanced nuclear reactors are sometimes modular, stackable, and mobile, and generate 75 megawatts. That technology is going to proliferate over time as regulation and approval processes happen.”

– Tony Grindberg

Giving back to communities

“We’re committed to the communities we serve. Our employees are deeply engaged in the community and each year make significant financial contributions to keep North Dakota’s communities strong.”

– Xcel Energy

Employee Volunteerism

  • 20 Nonprofits Served
  • 89 Volunteers
  • 853 Volunteer Hours
  • $260,000 in Community Investments*

*Includes Foundation giving and other contributions.

Xcel Energy’s impact in North Dakota extends far beyond the electricity that powers homes and businesses.

“When you walk into a room and flip a light switch, a lot of things are unfolding behind the scenes to make that moment happen,” Grindberg said. “From the operational side of transmitting electricity to distributing it to your home or business, as well as liaising with regulators to keep rates affordable, navigating state and national policies, and leveraging tax credits. There’s a whole lot happening before the meter to make it all come together, and we look forward to making that happen every day. 

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