Duke Energy files Carbon Plan Integrated Resource Plan with North Carolina regulators

Published on August 21, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

Duke Energy filed its Carbon Plan Integrated Resource Plan (CPIRP) last week – the company’s blueprint to advance its energy transition – with North Carolina regulators,

The plan builds on the trajectory of the North Carolina Utilities Commission’s (NCUC) 2022 Carbon Plan. That plan established a least-cost path to meet the carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets of House Bill 951, North Carolina’s clean energy law.

In its plan, Duke Energy has identified new generation sources to meet strong growth in the Carolinas and take the place of retiring coal plants. These sources include advanced nuclear at Belews Creek in Stokes County and hydrogen-capable natural gas plants at Roxboro in Person County and Marshall in Catawba County.

Further, the CPIRP significantly increases solar, storage and wind compared to the 2022 proposal.

“This plan delivers a path to cleaner energy without compromising grid reliability, affordability or the energy demands of a growing region,” Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said. “We project exponential growth, far beyond what has already made us the top state for business, so we’ve charted an ambitious roadmap for meeting that need while protecting reliability and affordability for our customers.”

The CPIRP includes three core energy portfolios for the NCUC to review. The three portfolios reach HB951’s interim 70 percent carbon reduction target by 2030, 2033, and 2035, respectively. All three portfolios reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We’ve already made tremendous progress in the energy transition, retiring two-thirds of our aging coal plants in the Carolinas and reducing emissions by 46 percent since 2005,” Bowman said. “Now we’re proposing specific new generation at existing plant sites, leveraging our current infrastructure, transmission system and workforce to save customers money while supporting job creation and tax base in these communities.”

Of the three portfolios, the company has recommended a “near term action plan” based on the least-cost, least-risk portfolio. Activities in that plan would call for 6,000 megawatts (MW) of solar by 2031; 2,700 MW of battery storage by 2031; 5,800 MW of hydrogen-capable natural gas by 2032; 1,200 MW of onshore wind by 2033; 1,700 MW of pumped storage hydro by 2034 at Bad Creek Hydro in Oconee County, S.C.;
and 600 MW of advanced nuclear by 2035.

Duke Energy held five stakeholder engagement meetings over a four-month period that solicited input from more than 100 individuals. These individuals are from a diverse group of organizations that included customers, environmental advocates, community leaders and other industries. The NCUC will also hold public hearings before issuing its final CPIRP order by the end of 2024.

The same resource plan was also filed in South Carolina on Aug. 15.