By the end of this decade, renewables will make up a large portion of Duke Energy’s generation mix as the utility looks to triple the amount of renewable energy it produces from company power plants and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
This information was spelled out today in Duke Energy’s 15th Sustainability Report, the company’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 VP of 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 company is undertaking its aggressive renewable energy build-outs with wind and solar projects currently under construction in Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas. Over the next three years, the company 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 company 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 last month 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 $8 million to COVID-19 relief efforts during 2020, and more than $2 million was provided by the Duke Energy Foundation to social justice and racial equity organizations.
- The company’s economic development team helped attract nearly 18,000 new jobs and $9.1 billion in capital investment to its service territories.
- The company’s overall carbon dioxide output continues to fall — down more than 40% since 2005. The company aims to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
Today’s report continues Duke Energy’s history of transparency and sharing progress on climate change and other ESG matters.
On April 27, the company announced a new comprehensive brand for its non-regulated 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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