Is Xcel Energy ‘owning the libs’?

American Experiment is often critical of Xcel Energy because they nearly always mislead the public about the negative impact that wind and solar have on the affordability and reliability of the electric grid.

But if we were to play devil’s advocate, we could make a very strong argument that nobody is doing a better job of “owning the libs” than Xcel Energy. Why? Because the company is padding its corporate profits by exploiting the feelings of liberals who want to believe that wind, solar and battery storage can power our modern lives, even though it is essentially a physical impossibility.

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby

Xcel Energy’s corporate profits are up, bigly, since the company started closing down their existing coal facilities and replacing them with an expensive combination of wind turbines, solar panels, and natural gas power plants.

In fact, the graph below shows how Xcel’s corporate profits increase in lockstep every time renewable energy generation increases in Minnesota.

Some people might argue that correlation is not causation, but we know that Xcel’s increase in profits is being driven by this new investment. This is because as a government-approved monopoly, Xcel is guaranteed to make a 10 percent profit every time it spends money on new infrastructure.

As a result, the wind, solar and natural gas spending spree is directly responsible for the increase in profitability because this combination is much more expensive than running its existing coal plants.

The diagram below uses cost data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it shows that even with declining costs for wind turbines and solar panels, it’s expensive to replace coal plants. In fact, it costs approximately $4.8 million per megawatt (MW) to build a combination of the wind, solar and natural gas capacity needed to replace a megawatt of coal that already exists.

This means Xcel Energy is smiling all the way to the bank while liberals get warm fuzzy feelings about wind and solar. These liberal wind and solar supporters even think they are getting a deal when in reality, they are being taken for a ride.

Nothing quite demonstrates what’s happening better than Xcel Energy’s own television commercials. The video below talks about Xcel is “catching the wind” and “harnessing the power of that big bright glowing orb in the sky,” to make the future full of “safer, cleaner and less expensive energy.”

The commercial is a feel-good video bound to appeal to liberal environmentalists, but it’s littered with Xcel Energy’s favorite tricks. Xcel never comes clean on how much “catching the wind” and “harnessing the power of that big bright glowing orb in the sky,” will cost its customers.

Instead, they pervert the meanings of phrases like “less-expensive energy” while simultaneously planning to raise electricity prices by 20 percent over three years. But because this phrase is subjective, and therefore utterly meaningless, they can get away with it.

The graph below shows that electricity rates for Minnesota families with Xcel Energy as their service provider have increased quickly since Xcel was required to start using wind and solar energy in 2005 as part of a deal to keep their nuclear plants running.

Xcel now has electricity prices that are above the national average for residential and industrial customers, and Xcel’s prices are much higher than those paid by customers at Minnesota’s other investor-owned utilities, which you can see in the graph below.

In the end, Xcel has a great business model. They can capitalize on the well-meaning, but utterly misguided, belief that we can rely upon wind and solar to power our lives; nurture these beliefs with television commercials that reinforce these beliefs; and rake in the profits from consumers who have no choice but to buy Xcel’s electricity.

For these reasons, one could make a very persuasive case that Xcel is “owning the libs” by giving them the energy policy that they want.