CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy's 28,000 employees care deeply about the customers and communities they serve, and are building a legacy that will lead to a smarter, cleaner energy future, CEO Lynn Good told investors at the companys annual shareholder meeting today.
The company is taking numerous actions to innovate and thrive in a rapidly evolving energy industry, including the 2014 announcement of $8 billion in strategic investments in solar energy, electric and natural gas distribution infrastructure, and natural gas-fired power plants, she said.
Duke Energy is investing $500 million in solar energy in North Carolina, and played a key role in enabling the state to rank number-three in the U.S. in installed solar in 2014.
The company also recently announced plans to build up to 500 megawatts of solar in Florida by 2024.
Duke Energy already has invested $4 billion in wind and solar facilities in 12 states since 2007.
These initiatives support the company's ability to provide reliable, affordable energy from an increasingly clean and diverse portfolio of generation facilities, she said.
Customer, community focus
While innovating for the future, Duke Energy continues to simultaneously focus heavily on its customers and the needs of local communities, Good said.
Duke Energy customers electric rates remain below the national average in all six states it serves.
The company's energy efficiency programs have saved customers more than $650 million since 2009, and the company has distributed nearly 61 million energy efficient light bulbs.
Meanwhile, Duke Energy's total community and total charitable giving including funds from the Duke Energy Foundation, and employee and retiree contributions topped $73 million in 2014, Good said.
Duke Energy in 2014 also delivered favorable results for shareholders, she said, citing the companys 26 percent total shareholder return.
The company is on track to meet its 2015 financial objectives, as well, she added.
Good also focused on environmental stewardship, saying the company has made significant progress toward safely closing its coal ash basins and setting a new standard for ash management in the electric utility industry.
The company is moving to close its North Carolina ash basins as quickly as the state process allows, she said.
The company's environmental commitment also includes a nearly 20 percent reduction in its carbon emissions since 2005, an 85 percent reduction in its sulfur dioxide emissions and a 64 percent reduction in its nitrogen oxides emissions.
Also at the meeting, shareholders approved one shareholder proposal:
- "Shareholder proposal regarding proxy access."
Shareholders rejected two shareholder proposals:
- "Shareholder proposal regarding limitation of accelerated executive pay."
- "Shareholder proposal regarding political contribution disclosure."
Shareholders approved two management proposals:
- "Advisory vote to approve Duke Energy Corporation’s named executive officer compensation."
- "Approval of the Duke Energy Corporation 2015 Long-Term Incentive Plan."
Details on the proposals appear in the company's March 26, 2015 proxy (http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/Proxy_Statement_2015.pdf)
Shareholders also re-elected 14 members of Duke Energy's board of directors. Term length is one year.
Two members of the current 16-member board - James Reinsch and Alex Bernhardt - were not up for re-election because they are retiring from the board, per the company's director retirement policy and corporate governance principles.
An audio replay of the 90-minute meeting is available: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/kc3gd3oq/lan/en.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $121 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.