Duke Energy Lays Out Plan for Reaching Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

by | Sep 17, 2019

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Duke Energy today announced an updated climate strategy with a new goal of net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050. The company is also accelerating its near-term goal by cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by half or more from 2005 levels by 2030.

This company has already reduced carbon emissions by 31% since 2005. The reduction Duke Energy has already achieved meets or exceeds the standards of the former Clean Power Plan and the 2025 US commitment to the Paris Agreement.

The company’s 2017 goal to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2030 was one of the industry’s most ambitious at the time. Since then, sustained, low natural gas prices and declining costs for renewables and storage have allowed the company to accelerate that goal to at least 50% by 2030.

The company’s net-zero goal represents one of the most significant commitments to reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the US power sector. Achieving these goals requires a thoughtful approach that pairs today’s technologies with the research and development needed for tomorrow. The company expects it can achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions by 2050 with the technology that exists today.

Duke Energy’s path to a net-zero carbon future

The following is how Duke Energy expects to achieve its goals:

  • Collaborate and align with states and stakeholders. The steps and timeline for this transition will be unique in each state the utility serves, and it will collaborate with regulators, customers and other stakeholders to determine the right path.
  • Accelerate its transition to cleaner energy solutions. Duke Energy says it’s planning to at least double its portfolio of solar, wind and other renewables by 2025. Further, they will continue deploying low-cost natural gas to speed the transition from coal and maintain reliability. New natural gas infrastructure will be required to fuel this transition and balance renewables. The company will continue expanding energy storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • Continue to operate its existing carbon-free technologies, including nuclear and renewables. Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet’s nearly 11,000 megawatts of carbon-free generation in the Carolinas is central to its ability to meet these goals.
  • Modernize the electric grid. The company is investing in a multiyear effort to create a smarter and more resilient grid that can protect against extreme weather and cyber or physical attacks. These grid improvements also support adding more renewables, while avoiding outages and providing customers more control over their energy use.
  • Advocate for sound public policy that advances technology and innovation. This includes advanced renewable energy, longer-lasting storage, new nuclear technologies, low- and zero-carbon fuels and effective ways to capture carbon emissions. The company will also support permitting reforms that will enable new technologies to be deployed.

Duke Energy has retired 49 coal-fired units totaling 6,190 megawatts since 2010, replacing those with flexible natural gas and growing renewables.

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