Duke Energy unveils plan to double renewables, slash emissions

Meghann Showers

Duke Energy announced Friday that it would double its renewable energy generation by 2025 and reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to net-zero by 2030. The plans were announced at the company’s inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) day. The virtual investor event featured Duke Energy’s senior executives […]

Duke Energy announced Friday that it would double its renewable energy generation by 2025 and reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to net-zero by 2030.

The plans were announced at the company’s inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) day.

The virtual investor event featured Duke Energy’s senior executives who detailed the company’s ESG initiatives and unveiled new programs aimed at enhancing the company’s long-term commitment to delivering clean energy to the communities that it serves.

“We are enthusiastic about the prospect of scaling up our clean energy efforts, driving economic growth in our states and growing our business as we collaborate with stakeholders to develop smart energy policy and solutions for the future,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s chair, president and CEO. “Our confidence in these new commitments is grounded in Duke Energy’s strong record of results.”

The roadmap starts with renewables expansion — Duke said it plans to increase its renewable portfolio from 8 gigawatts to 16 gigawatts by 2025. By 2030, the company plans to feed the grid 40 gigawatts of renewable energy. To harness the extra juice, Duke will install more than 11,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2050.

Duke Energy also said it plans to speed up the timetable for retiring its coal plants, with a goal of retiring all of its plants in the Carolinas by 2030.

Duke’s natural gas operations are also set to get a bit cleaner. The company has eliminated all cast iron and bare steel pipes in its natural gas delivery system, removing a major contributor to methane leakage.

Duke Energy has also joined ONE Future, a coalition of natural gas companies working to voluntarily reduce methane emissions, achieving an even greater impact to methane reduction nationwide.

“Working with the industry to address upstream emissions will complement the methane emissions reduction we will achieve in our natural gas business,” said Sasha Weintraub, Duke Energy’s SVP for the natural gas business. “This comprehensive approach enables us to better serve the interests of our customers and meet the expectations of investors who value sound environmental practices.”

The plans outlined on ESG day will cost $58 billion over the next five years, or about $2 billion more than the five-year capital plan Duke published earlier this year. The 2025-29 capital plan will be in the range of $65 billion to $75 billion.

“The growth we’re already seeing, as well as the clean energy policies across our jurisdictions, allows us to stretch our capital plan’s runway and greatly expand our investments in our generation fleet and grid, which in turn will deliver significant value to our investors and the communities that we serve,” Duke Energy CFO Steve Young said.

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