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Duke Energy Raises Clean Energy Goal 33%

solar panelsDuke Energy says it expects to own or purchase 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020 — a 33 percent jump from the old goal of 6,000 megawatts established in 2013.

The largest utility in the US sets this new goal in its latest sustainability report.

At the end of 2015, the company owned or purchased nearly 4,400 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass: 49 percent wind, 39 percent solar and 12 percent biomass.

Overall, Duke Energy operates more than 52,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the US.

A new survey of US utilities by the Smart Electric Power Alliance ranked Duke no. 3 in adding new solar projects and says the North Carolina-based company added 461 new megawatts of solar power in 2015.

Duke also owns the majority interest in California-based solar provider REC Solar.

The utility’s sustainability report also says Duke’s carbon emissions are down. In 2015, overall carbon dioxide emissions from generation were 28 percent below what they were 10 years ago — and about 6 percent less than 2014.

Despite this, a new report says Duke, along with AEP, Southern and NRG have “significantly higher” emissions than the next highest emitters and thus are most likely to face “significant legal liability.”

The report, from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and the Sustainable Investments Institute, compares how the largest 25 utilities in the US are managing their business risks posed by climate change.

Don’t miss our Environmental Leader 2016 Conference in June.

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