Have you ever been on a sailboat when the wind kicked up and a big gust tossed you into the water? (Not that I have, of course. My friend maintains that he is an “expert captain.”) Or have you experienced the wind dying down and it’s like you’re going nowhere fast? (He’ll deny that one too.) Wind has a similar effect on the power grid – but if you know when the gusts are coming, you can adjust accordingly.
Wind is one of the most difficult weather variables to forecast (as my friend can attest). So many factors affect it – topography, ground cover, temperature inversions – even the number of leaves on nearby trees.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is focused on balancing the need for reliable, affordable energy while building a clean energy future for our customers and the communities we serve. Our commitment to the environment and our communities has been recognized by our inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America in 2010-2011. We’ve been reducing power plant emissions, promoting energy efficiency and using renewable energy for more than a decade. We’re the No. 1 wind power provider and the No. 5 solar utility in the United States. We offer our 3.4 million electricity and 1.9 million natural gas customers some of the largest conservation programs in the country and have helped our customers save enough energy since 1992 to enable us to avoid building more than 12, medium-size power plants.