A coalition of public interest, environmental and economic justice organizations will convene the first-ever hearing to examine Duke Energy’s policies and practices, which have polluted and financially punished its low-income ratepayers and communities of color throughout its vast six-state service area.
Duke's 15-Year Plan
Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) are the 15-year plans the corporation must submit to the NC Utilities Commission every 2 years. From 2013 to 2015, NC WARN published A Responsible Energy Future for North Carolina, a clean alternative to Duke’s IRPs. In 2017, engineer Bill Powers analyzed the state’s electricity generation and proposed a cleaner path. Learn more about Bill’s NC Clean Path 2025 report. In 2021, Bill reviewed Duke’s IRPs, finding cost distortions and misleading reports of how much power is available — all serving to advance Duke’s case for building new gas at a time when climate change demands rapid decarbonization and when solar paired with storage is beating gas on both economics and reliability. Learn more and tell the Commission to reject Duke’s 2020 IRP.
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Despite “climate plan” and greenwashing TV ads, 15-year Carolinas plan leaves Duke a national laggard on cheaper renewable power. In the Carolinas, Duke plans to greatly expand its burning of fracked gas – and expand coal use – even as dozens of its gas units sit totally unused, while continuing to limit the growth of cheaper renewable power.
“Net-zero” goals proliferate, but speed, integrity of commitments varies greatly. The country’s top emitting utilities are on decarbonization pathways that are too slow to meet the climate goals set forth by President-Elect Joseph Biden.
Op-Ed by Drew Shindell and Jim Warren. Reducing methane emissions is crucial for limiting climate change in the near term. Doing so can provide vital benefits, including fewer people dying from air pollution and heat waves and harmed by powerful storms and wildfires. The climate crisis demands that we stop building fossil fuel infrastructure immediately.
Rita Leadem with the environmental group NC Warn said many of the grid upgrades are unnecessary and that Duke should invest more in solar energy. “The smarter investment at this time would really be in the clean energy resources, backed up with battery storage, that would provide the resiliency that we need and really pave the way forward,” she said.
As a long-awaited hearing begins next Monday, attorneys for NC WARN and allies will firmly oppose Duke Energy’s request for yet another electricity rate hike even as the Utilities Commission’s Public Staff and other parties recently announced settlements with Duke on portions of the rate request.
See coverage by WFAE
A coalition of environmental groups have petitioned N.C. regulators to rule Duke Energy and other utilities must get regulatory approval before modifying coal plants to burn natural gas. Jim Warren, executive director of the Durham-based watchdog group NC WARN, which is one of the petitioners, says it appears Duke is “spending millions on Band-Aids for coal plants instead of retiring them.”
The proposed natural gas pipeline through eastern North Carolina is dead. Long live natural gas! Admittedly, there won’t be a coronation ceremony like there would be if a living monarch were replacing a deceased one.But when it comes to reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly ways to power a 21st-century economy, natural gas is still king. Its reign will continue for many decades, despite the successful effort by left-wing activists to litigate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to death.
Despite growing frustration across the political spectrum with Duke Energy’s rising rates and meager clean energy plans, there’s no clear path to ending the 115-year-old utility’s monopoly outright.
A prominent energy engineer [Bill Powers] is contesting Duke Energy Carolinas’ request for billions of dollars in rate increases, showing in written testimony that the corporation is trying to pad investors’ pockets through pre-approval of grid projects that are either unneeded or could be better handled with solar-plus-storage investments.