Duke Energy will invest heavily in cleaner power, natural gas infrastructure and the energy grid during the next 10 years, CEO Lynn Good told investors during the company's first online shareholder meeting last week.
Duke Energy's planned $25-billion modernization of its energy grid – the largest grid in the United States and "a critical part" of the nation's infrastructure – will provide "improved reliability and the services customers expect," Good said. "The cornerstone of our comprehensive grid investment is Power/Forward Carolinas, our $13-billion plan to upgrade and strengthen our system in North Carolina."
The grid investments also will enable higher levels of renewable energy, she said.
Duke will also invest $11 billion to generate cleaner energy through renewables and natural gas as it moves to a low-carbon future.
"By retiring coal plants and bringing on more natural gas and renewables, we have already reduced our carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent since 2005. Today, we are among the top five companies in terms of renewable capacity, and we are committed to doing more," Good said. "We have set a new goal to reduce our carbon emissions by 40 percent from the 2005 level by 2030."
Natural gas is expected to increase to 35 percent of the company's electricity generation portfolio during the next 10 years, while renewable energy – such as solar, wind and hydro – will grow to approximately 10 percent, she said.
Duke Energy's natural gas business also will play a key role in the company's future, Good said.
"We're expanding our natural gas infrastructure to supply our plants and customers with this cleaner fuel.
"With Piedmont in the fold, we now operate a five-state gas distribution business and have investments in natural gas pipelines that will supply customers in the eastern United States. Through these investments, we will double the earnings contribution of our natural gas business by 2026," she said.