Duke Energy is in the course of a five-year, almost $59 billion “growth capital plan,” according to Good, as the North Carolina-centered utility presses forward with plans to decarbonize its operations. Duke is on schedule to complete two large solar projects in Florida and North Carolina, reaching 250 MW, by the completion of the year, while also commissioning two additional solar developments, the 144MW Pflugerville solar facility and the 182MW Maryneal wind farm.
Duke’s renewable portfolio has now surpassed 10,000 megawatts (MW) thanks to the last two initiatives, both in Texas, according to Good. “We’ve reached a big milestone with the execution of these two projects,” Duke CEO stated. In the second quarter, Duke recorded an adjusted EPS of $1.15, up from $1.08 at the same time in 2020. The company noted that growth in its infrastructure segments and electric utilities, as well as favorable rate case rulings and higher volumes, all contributed to the increase in profitability.
According to Good, Duke’s renewable portfolio is forecast to more than twice by 2030, reaching 24,000 MW, with renewables accounting for 40% or higher of utility’s power mix by the year 2050. “Renewables are a big part of our net-zero strategy,” Good added. Duke is also working to renew the operating licenses for its nuclear reactors in both North and South Carolina, which Good describes as “a basic component” of the company’s decarbonization efforts.
According to the Duke CEO, the power company has begun the process of extending Oconee Nuclear Station’s authorization for the next twenty years, with the review estimated to take 18 months. She said that Duke’s nuclear fleet’s flagship, Oconee, produces 2,500 MW across its three generating units, enough to power approximately 2 million homes. “In 2020, our nuclear fleet delivered 83 percent of the firm’s carbon-free generation, avoiding approximately 50 million tons of CO2 emissions,” Good added.
The Duke CEO also stated that she is keeping a close eye on the progression of House Bill 951, which is in North Carolina, that the business supports. The measure, which recently passed the House of Representatives, calls for the retirement of “12 coal units” in five places, with “cleaner sources of generation” as well as “renewed solar programs and updated rate-making instruments” to replace them, according to Good.
“We promote House Bill 951 and will keep an eye on it as it moves through the legislature,” Good said. Good said she was heartened by proposals in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation to invest $7.5 billion to build out electric vehicle charging stations across the country. eTransEnergy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, was founded in February to assist clients ranging from delivery companies to school districts in switching to electric cars.