Duke Presents Options

Solar Panels
Photo credit Duke Energy
By 106.3 WORD

Duke Energy issued the following media release Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress today filed their 2020 Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), based in part on extensive input from more than 200 customer and stakeholder participants.

The plans outline a range of options to achieve varying levels of carbon reduction, including for the first time potential pathways to achieve up to 70% carbon emissions reduction with policy and technology advancements. Aggressive carbon reduction targets are achievable with investments in solar, wind, and energy storage. Offshore wind, advanced nuclear and other technologies also will play a role as they become available. 

“The Carolinas are a national leader for carbon emissions reduction in the electric sector, and we’re eager to build on and accelerate that success,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy chair, president and CEO. “To that end, we’ve conducted extensive analysis to provide customers, regulators and policymakers a comprehensive view of the options for further reductions. We are ready to collaborate to find the best fit for the Carolinas and the citizens and businesses we serve.”

Duke Energy actively engaged stakeholders, such as business customers, consumer advocacy and environmental groups, in North Carolina and South Carolina over a six-month period to listen and solicit input to inform the planning process. Duke Energy held three virtual sessions with more than 200 external stakeholder participants representing a broad range of interests. They provided recommendations in the areas of resource planning, carbon reduction, energy efficiency and demand response.

"Duke Energy certainly gave stakeholders many opportunities to weigh in before developing major long-term plans that will affect thousands of families and businesses, and I hope to see that robust engagement reflected throughout this important process,” said David Rogers, southeast deputy regional director, Beyond Coal, Sierra Club. “I appreciated the opportunity for more substantive engagement with Duke Energy, and I highly encourage company leaders to continue involving stakeholders early in key strategic decisions." 

The 2020 IRPs each present six potential pathways within the 15-year planning horizon that evaluate different possible resource portfolios. Each pathway keeps Duke Energy on a trajectory to meet its near-term carbon reduction goal of at least 50% by 2030 and long-term goal of net-zero by 2050 in the Carolinas, while exploring accelerated coal retirement options, significant increases in renewables, including onshore and offshore wind, and further integration and development of new technologies, among other scenarios.

The plans demonstrate the valuable role nuclear and natural gas can play as part of a balanced portfolio, sustaining Duke Energy’s industry-leading pace in carbon reductions by enabling early coal retirements.

The plans also underscore the energy grid improvements that will be required to maintain reliability for customers, while adding the extensive renewables and energy storage needed to achieve these various goals.

“This is a clear-eyed view of the real-world requirements to achieve a range of potential public policy goals in the Carolinas, consistent with Duke Energy’s mission to provide all customers with affordable, reliable and cleaner energy,” said Good.

The scenario analyses included in the IRPs provide a comparison of system costs, estimated customer bill impacts and varying levels of carbon reduction to inform regulators’ decisions and to inform future discussions about public policy. Collaboration with stakeholders, continued investment in grid improvements and the advancement of new, innovative technologies will ultimately guide the pace of energy transition in the Carolinas. 

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) are required to make Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filings each year with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC). Every other year, the companies file comprehensive IRPs such as the ones being filed today. This year marks the first comprehensive IRP filed in SC pursuant to the Energy Freedom Act enacted in 2019.