Carolina regulators and customers should send Duke back to the drawing board
A coalition of over a dozen Carolina based and national clean energy and environmental justice nonprofit organizations issued a report card evaluating Duke Energy’s 15-year energy generation plans for both North and South Carolina customers today. The coalition found that Duke Energy Carolinas’ and Duke Energy Progress’ 2020 Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) fall short of the coalition’s previously released principles for a plan in the public interest.
The IRPs are the first filed in the Carolinas since Duke Energy’s September 2019 commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and since legislation in South Carolina and executive action in North Carolina indicated interest in climate action. However, the report card found that Duke’s plans neither adequately address climate change nor reduce customers’ energy burdens.
Instead of choosing the cleanest and most cost-effective option of retiring coal plants immediately and replacing them with efficiency and renewables, Duke’s plans delay coal plant closures, and propose to build 9.6GW of new fossil gas. The plans also continue to fund lobbying efforts contrary to the public interest and to rely on technologies that have yet to be developed, when cost-effective and climate-friendly solutions already exist.
The proposed IRPs are currently under consideration before the North Carolina Utilities Commission and South Carolina Public Service Commission.