A Clean Energy Revolution Is Rising in the Midwest, with Utilities in the Vanguard

This was a fulcrum year for the clean-energy transition in the Midwest as Xcel announced plans to go zero carbon and other utilities said they would shut down coal-fired power plants early. Credit: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images Even with all the evidence that renewable energy has become less expensive than fossil fuels, it doesn’t seem real until utilities start to stake their futures on it. For some Midwestern utilities, 2018 is the year that happened. 2018 Year in Review Xcel Energy of Minnesota in early December said it would go to zero carbon emissions throughout its eight-state territory by 2050, the first major utility to do so. That followed some big steps by Consumers Energy in Michigan and NIPSCO in Indiana, which issued plans to shut down coal-fired power plants sooner than previously planned while also accelerating development of wind and solar power. These corporate decisions are part of what has made 2018 a fulcrum year for the clean-energy transition, a time when long-building trends in energy consumption and pricing have led to a clear shift in the market, according to analysts and clean-energy advocates. These dynamics are most noticeable in the Midwest because of extremely […]

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