As Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy’s chairman and CEO, steps into the national spotlight as the new chairman of the board of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), he will lead the charge on three strategic initiatives within the utility industry: the response and recovery from COVID-19, the transition to clean energy, and overcoming racial injustice.
Xcel Energy is one of the largest utilities in America, and like all of you, we’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fowke intends to guide the utility industry through the recovery phase. The values we live by at Xcel Energy play key roles in the decisions we've made about helping our customers manage through these challenging times while keeping our business stable. Fowke will carry those same values to the entire industry to find innovative, compassionate, and responsible solutions to the challenges created by the pandemic.
In 2018, Xcel Energy became the first utility to commit to a bold vision to provide 100% carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050. Fowke will now give that leadership and innovative spirit to all EEI members to help them achieve their clean energy goals. It’s a significant opportunity because these U.S. investor-owned electric companies provide electricity for more than 220 million Americans, and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Uniting the industry against racism
The outcry for an end to racism was powerfully felt in Minneapolis, which is home to our corporate headquarters. We have taken the tragedy to heart and are beginning the difficult conversations to learn ways we can truly make Xcel Energy a model for diversity and inclusion.
“We have strong practices in place at Xcel Energy to make everyone feel they can show up as their authentic self,” Fowke said. “But we can do better. We will do better.”
Fowke will guide similar conversations with EEI’s membership to create change that matters across the industry.