CEO, Xcel Energy
Ben Fowke is CEO, Xcel Energy.
Tom Flaherty of Strategy& (PwC): How is your company concentrating on innovation?
Ben Fowke, CEO, Xcel Energy: We're concentrating on three key things: leading the clean energy transition, enhancing the customer experience and keeping customer bills low. We've been working hard to get the entire company focused on and working to deliver these priorities. I'm convinced that if we can do all three things, we'll be successful in the long term.
Getting these things done requires innovation, and if an initiative can deliver on all three things, you have a real winner. By that view, we've seen innovation at its best in our expansive wind projects, which I like to call "steel for fuel."
We know most of our customers want a clean energy product, and of course they all want a more affordable product. "Steel for fuel" is a key way to connect with customers by giving them what they want. We're capitalizing on the great wind resources in the states we serve to give them a clean product at a lower cost - a really unique result since typically we would think that new investment in cleaner energy would raise costs. But by seizing the opportunity right now, that simply isn't the case.
In short, we compare the forecast for natural gas prices - the "fuel" - to the cost to build a wind farm - the "steel." Today, steel is deeply in the money, and we're really excited about that.