February 03, 2020

Xcel Energy and Traditional Cost-of-Service Ratemaking: De-risking Investment for a Carbon-Free Electricity Future

Laurel Quinto

Introduction: State of Things Now

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” Carbon dioxide has become the primary driver of climate change. Because the total make up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has inched past 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in recorded history, adequately mitigating climate change due to this carbon dioxide increase will require deep decarbonization of developed counties’ economies. “Deep decarbonization” in this context describes decarbonization efforts of around 80 percent by 2050, an achievement that requires fossil fuel generation to be replaced by carbon-free generation as the dominant source of energy supply.

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