Xcel Energy prepared for summer’s high demand

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AMARILLO, Texas (May 27, 2021) – Xcel Energy’s ongoing investments in generating capacity and targeted grid improvements are expected to provide reliable service across the company’s Texas-New Mexico service area as summer’s heat sets in.

“While nothing can be taken for granted, we are confident our system is ready for the hottest days this summer,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “We’ve invested billions of dollars over the past decade in clean energy resources, new and expanded substations and hundreds of miles of new and updated power lines to ensure we have the capacity to meet expected demands on our system.”

Xcel Energy is part of the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees the reliability of a multistate transmission network and operates a wholesale power market. A decade’s worth of investment in new transmission connections within the regional service area and to other

SPP members has allowed Xcel Energy to tap into abundant power supplies that supplement a large amount of generating capacity located within the region, Hudson said. SPP is not connected to the Texas grid operated by ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. In a May 6 news release providing a summer outlook, ERCOT mentioned “low-probability, high-impact situations similar to the February winter event” could occur if surging demand creates another energy shortage, but talk of possible deficiencies pertains to ERCOT and not Xcel Energy and the SPP.

“Our Texas customers may hear reports of potential power shortages downstate, but it’s important to remember these reports are discussing conditions outside of the Xcel Energy service area,” Hudson said. “From a planning standpoint, we are in a better position in the Panhandle and South Plains than the rest of Texas when it comes to meeting high summer demand.”

Xcel Energy is regulated differently than power providers in downstate Texas and must show it has enough capacity to meet expected peak demands and still have at least a 12% reserve. The company has met that requirement with room to spare and expects to have close to a 20% reserve margin going into the summer months, Hudson said.

Hudson also pointed out that the company has invested heavily in local distribution systems to ensure power flows freely on hot days. Projects such as the Western Street and Hunsley substations in Amarillo and the new Sisko Substation in Carlsbad are just a few examples of recent projects designed to boost the capacity of the distribution network.

Recent projects to standardize the voltages in area communities, including Amarillo, Plainview and Carlsbad, ensure that if heat-related outages do occur, crews can quickly reroute power to minimize disruptions.

“It’s an ongoing effort to keep our system at peak readiness and to ensure we have the capacity to grow,” Hudson said.

Xcel Energy recently updated its “Our Energy Future Southwest” page at xcelenergy.com that provides more detailed information on investments in the region’s electric system, including the 522-megawatt Sagamore Wind Project in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, that was completed in 2020.

About Xcel Energy Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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