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Xcel Energy Seeks CPUC's Approval for Colorado Energy Plan

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Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL - Free Report) announced that it has filed a stipulation with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to invest in clean energy in rural Colorado. The filed stipulation is a broad collaboration between Xcel Energy and 14 other diverse groups.

According to the filing, Xcel Energy seeks permission from CPUC to invest approximately $2.5 billion in rural Colorado, to increase its clean energy portfolio. The company has vouched that the approval will not increase customers’ bill.

The Colorado Energy Plan

Xcel Energy stated that their aim is to provide low-cost power and increase the use of cleaner energy in its service area. If approved, the proposal will increase the company’s renewable energy portfolio to 55% by 2026. It will also be very effective in enabling customers to save money and reduce carbon emission by almost 60% by 2026 as compared with 2005 level. As of now, Xcel Energy has lowered its emission level by 30% from 2005 levels and is on track to lower it by 45% through 2021. This proposal may also add up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind, 700 MW of solar and 700 MW of natural gas and storage to the company’s portfolio on completion.

The company has also asked the commission to consider the early retirement of two 660 MW of coal generation units in southern Colorado. Xcel Energy is currently diversifying its generation portfolio with emphasis on renewable sources. To this end, it is planning to invest about $4.2 billion in wind assets over the next three years.

Focus on Green Energy by Utility Service Providers

Xcel Energy is not the only company undertaking additional measures to reduce carbon emission by reducing coal usage and increasing use of renewable energy, even when President Trump is actively promoting the usage of coal, to revive the industry.

NextEra Energy's (NEE - Free Report) subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), has bought out existing contracts with two independent coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting down both plants, thereby saving hundreds of millions of dollars for customers and reducing green house gas emission.

Another utility giant who is investing heavily in clean power is Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) . The company’s five-year plan includes investment of $3.3 billion in highly-efficient natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants. The company has brought down emission level by almost 30% compared to the 2005, by retiring coal plants and bringing on more natural gas and renewable.

With clean energy as the ultimate future, such initiatives adopted by utilities like Xcel Energy will surely help them to capture increased shares in the renewable energy market, which boasts a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Price Movement

Shares of Xcel Energy have returned 20.1% in the last one year outperforming the industry’s growth of 7.8% in the same time period.

Xcel Energy’s disciplined investments in infrastructure projects and focus on renewable expansion might have led to this outperformance.

Zacks Ranks and Other Stock to Consider

Xcel Energy currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better ranked stock in the same is CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP - Free Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

CenterPoint Energy delivered a four-quarter average positive surprise of 10.34%. The company’s long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 4.33%.

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