Duke Energy to invest $145B over the next 10 years toward clean energy transition

Published on October 05, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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To make the transition to affordable clean energy, Duke Energy plans to invest $145 billion over the next 10 years in critical energy infrastructure to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The recently updated capital investment plan for its seven regulated utilities marks a $10 billion increase over its previous 10-year plan. Roughly 85 percent of the investment will fund the generation fleet transition and grid modernization. This includes $75 billion to modernize and harden its transmission and distribution infrastructure; $40 billion for zero-carbon generation, such as solar, wind, battery storage resources, and nuclear; and approximately $5 billion for hydrogen-enabled natural gas technologies.

“Our customers’ expectations are clear – they want affordability and reliability to remain a central focus as we work to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy chair, president, and CEO. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with customers, regulators, community leaders, and other stakeholders to meet these expectations. These critical energy infrastructure investments will also provide substantial economic benefits, including job creation and tax revenue for essential governmental services in our regions.”

These investments will help the company have an estimated 30,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2035. It will also support the continued growth of technologies such as battery storage and electric vehicles. Further, Duke will install advanced smart technology that monitors and detects potential problems and schedules maintenance before an outage occurs. In addition, investments will be made in self-healing technology that reduces the frequency and duration of outages. The idea is to create an intelligent grid that will give customers more control over their energy usage.

The company is also making investments to help lower customers’ bills. Some of these initiatives include leveraging clean energy tax credits, increasing rate stability by transitioning to renewables that have no fuel requirements, implementing mechanisms to lower financing costs of storm restoration, and ongoing cost management activities. Also, it is extending recovery times for increased fuel costs, extending payment arrangements, and increasing efforts to make customers aware of financial assistance.

Duke estimates the 10-year capital investment plan will support more than 20,000 additional direct, indirect, and induced jobs annually. Additionally, it will support $250 billion in economic output throughout the U.S. economy and generate over $5 billion in additional property tax revenue in the local communities.

Further, the company remains on course to hit its net zero carbon emissions goals. It is on the path to exceeding 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030, an 80 percent reduction for Scope 1 emissions by 2040, and a 50 percent reduction for Scope 2 and 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035. Finally, the company published principles and a framework to guide its efforts moving forward.

Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C., provides electricity for 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. It also provides natural gas for 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky.