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Energy & Environment

Duke Energy Sees Renewable Energy Growing To 23% By 2030

Duke Energy's Monroe solar farm, on about 400 acres off South Rocky River Road, has about 684,000 solar panels.
David Boraks
Duke Energy's Monroe solar farm, on about 400 acres off South Rocky River Road, has about 684,000 solar panels.

Duke Energy says it expects to triple the amount of renewable energy it produces by 2030. That's among the goals in the Charlotte-based company's annual sustainability report out Wednesday.

About 7% of the energy produced at Duke-owned power plants currently comes from solar, wind and hydroelectric power, according to the report. That could grow to 23% by the end of this decade as Duke continues to add capacity.

042821 Duke Energy Mix.jpg
Duke Energy
2020 Sustainability Report
Duke Energy's changing energy mix. This shows percentage of megawatt hours generated from company-owned plants.

"We've got a healthy pipeline of projects we're looking at in North Carolina, elsewhere around the nation, Florida, other states, so we're going to be busy on the renewable energy front," Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless said.

The new plants will be built by both Duke's unregulated renewable energy business, now called Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, and its regulated utilities in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest. It does not include renewable energy purchased from third-party solar or wind operators.

Duke's goal is to reduce carbon emissions from its plants by 50% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, and to eliminate them entirely by 2050. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's Clean Energy Plan calls on utilities to reduce carbon emissions by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 to fight climate change.

Critics note that even as Duke promises more renewable energy, the company's long-range plans in North Carolina call for building more gas-fired plants in the next 15 years.

The report comes as the North Carolina Utilities Commission conducts hearings on Duke's latest Integrated Resource Plan. The hearings have turned into a debate on the speed of Duke's shift to renewable energy.

Duke still gets most of its power from fossil fuels — 37% from natural gas and 21% from coal or oil. It has retired 52 coal-fired units since 2010.

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