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Duke Energy Plans to Triple Renewable Energy Production this Decade

May 3, 2021
The utility aims to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Duke Energy looks to triple the amount of renewable energy it produces in its power plants and dramatically reduce carbon emissions by the end of the decade.

This has been spelled out in Duke Energy’s 15th Sustainability Report, the utility's annual disclosure on environment, social and governance (ESG) issues.

“Duke Energy has a clear line of sight to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and is making terrific progress to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We’re already a leader in our industry when it comes to low-carbon intensity. This next decade will also be our biggest ever for incorporating thousands of megawatts of new renewable energy generation into our portfolio,” said Katherine Neebe, Duke Energy’s vice president, national engagement & strategy, chief sustainability officer and president, Duke Energy Foundation.

Currently, 7% of Duke Energy’s company-owned electrical output comes from wind, solar and hydroelectric plants. That figure is projected to grow to 23% by 2030.

The utility is undertaking its aggressive renewable energy buildouts with wind and solar projects currently under construction in Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas. Over the next three years, the utility will also add 280 MW of pumped storage hydro capacity at its Bad Creek facility in South Carolina.

Duke Energy’s carbon-free generation is also helped by its six nuclear plants in the Carolinas, which produced 35% of its total electrical output in 2020.

Among the other highlights in the report:

  • The utility is overseeing the largest coal retirement in the industry and disclosed the closing dates for its remaining coal-fired generating units. Since 2010, Duke Energy has retired 51 coal-fired units, according to a chart in the report. An additional unit was retired recently bringing the total to 52.
  • For the first time, Duke Energy is sharing expanded employee diversity data, which is filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Duke Energy and its Foundation donated more than US$8 million to COVID-19 relief efforts during 2020, and more than US$2 million was provided by the Duke Energy Foundation to social justice and racial equity organizations.
  • The utility’s economic development team helped attract nearly 18,000 new jobs and US$9.1 billion in capital investment to its service territories.
  • The utility’s overall carbon dioxide output is down more than 40% since 2005. It aims to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
  • Duke Energy continues to offer "excellent value to customers with high reliability and retail electric rates below the national average in all customer categories — residential, commercial and industrial."

The utility recently announced a new comprehensive brand for its nonregulated commercial renewables business — Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. The brand unifies products and services offered by several Duke Energy subsidiaries, including Duke Energy Renewables, REC Solar and Duke Energy One. The team will continue to leverage Duke Energy’s deep industry experience to deliver the sustainable energy solutions customers need and want while empowering them to make a measurable impact, help reduce emissions and gain resiliency.

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