State proposals to transition toward net-zero carbon emissions remain in the “early innings” but there are opportunities for natural gas utilities, according to Xcel Energy Inc.’s incoming CEO.

COO Bob Frenzel, who is taking over as CEO for retiring Ben Fowke, discussed the energy transition recently during a 2Q2021 earnings conference call.

Frenzel was quizzed about Colorado and Minnesota decarbonization plans, two states where Xcel operates. 

“They are similar to what we went through in the ‘90s with renewable mandates,” said Frenzel. The decarbonization solutions are “somewhat expensive.”

Xcel’s gas and electric utilities in eight states where it operates are planning pilot projects, new technologies and efficiency programs to reduce emissions, Frenzel...