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Duke Energy tells investors renewables goal is 40 GW by 2050

U.S. utility giant Duke Energy announced plans to double its renewable portfolio in only five years and then more than double it again by 2050.

The North Carolina-based Duke also committed itself to a path reducing its methane emissions from the natural gas  business to net zero in 10 years. The company’s capital spending plan to help reach those goals totals in a range of $120 billion to $130 billion by 2030, according to the news release.

Duke detailed those plans at its first-ever environmental, social and governance day this past week. The virtual investor event featured senior executives laying out those initiatives, which included the push from an 8-GW portfolio currently to 16 GW by 2030 across all businesses, effectively tripling the clean energy mix within the regulated utilities.

“We are enthusiastic about the prospect of scaling up our clean energy efforts, driving economic growth in our states and growing our business as we collaborate with stakeholders to develop smart energy policy and solutions for the future,” said Duke Energy chair, president and CEO Lynn Good. “Our confidence in these new commitments is grounded in Duke Energy’s strong record of results.”

The regulated utility renewable capacity would reach 40 GW by 2050, according to the Duke plans. More than 11 GW of energy storage would be added within that time frame to help provide energy resiliency with the intermittent renewables.

Duke Energy will seek to retire all of its coal-only units in the Carolinas within 10 years. The company has already retired about 50 coal-fired units, totaling more than than 6.5-GW of capacity, since 2010.

It will implement digital technologies and find efficiencies to mitigate the cost of the capital increases, according to the release.

“The growth we’re already seeing, as well as the clean energy policies across our jurisdictions, allows us to stretch our capital plan’s runway and greatly expand our investments in our generation fleet and grid, which in turn will deliver significant value to our investors and the communities that we serve,” said Duke Energy CFO Steve Young.