CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today provided an update on its strategy to meet customers’ need for affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy. The company’s planned investment of $145 billion over the next 10 years for critical energy infrastructure is essential to meeting these customer needs and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while also creating substantial economic benefits for the communities it serves.
“Our customers’ expectations are clear – they want affordability and reliability to remain a central focus as we work to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy chair, president and CEO. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with customers, regulators, community leaders and other stakeholders to meet these expectations. These critical energy infrastructure investments will also provide substantial economic benefits, including job creation and tax revenue for essential governmental services in our regions.”
Investing in critical energy infrastructure
To meet customer needs, the company is updating its capital investment plan for its seven regulated utilities to $145 billion over the next decade, a $10 billion increase over its previous 10-year plan. Eighty-five percent of the planned investment will fund the company’s generation fleet transition and grid modernization. This includes approximately $75 billion to modernize and harden its transmission and distribution infrastructure; $40 billion for zero-carbon generation, such as solar, wind and battery storage resources, and extending the life of its nuclear fleet; and approximately $5 billion in hydrogen-enabled natural gas technologies. The ultimate timing of investments will be subject to regulatory approvals.
Reliability and resiliency
Duke Energy’s vital grid investments are the foundation of meeting customer expectations. Modernizing and hardening the transmission and distribution infrastructure will help empower customers, maintain service reliability, avoid service interruptions, and better prepare and protect against severe weather and potential cyber events. These investments will also pave the way as the company reaches 30,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2035 and support the continued growth of technologies such as battery storage and electric vehicles.
The company will also continue installing advanced smart technology that monitors and detects potential problems and schedules maintenance before an outage even occurs, as well as self-healing technology that reduces the frequency and duration of outages. This intelligent grid of the future will also empower customers by offering tools that give them more control over their energy usage, letting them save energy and money.
The company is taking significant steps around customer affordability, including making investments to lower future fuel volatility and cost. Some of these initiatives – all of which directly reduce customers’ bills – include leveraging clean energy tax credits, increasing rate stability by transitioning to renewables that have no fuel requirements, implementing mechanisms to lower financing costs of storm restoration, and undertaking significant ongoing cost management activities.
Additionally, as rising commodity prices impact customers, the company has worked with stakeholders to moderate bill impacts, including extending recovery times for increased fuel costs. It is also providing flexibility by extending payment arrangements and increasing efforts to make customers aware of further financial assistance.
Last year, Duke Energy set up a dedicated agency team of customer advocates to partner with nonprofit and government organizations, which has helped customers access more than $200 million in financial support over the last two years.
Successful implementation of the company’s strategy will provide economic benefits to our customers and communities over the next 10 years, stemming from job creation, infrastructure growth and economic development, according to an economic impact study conducted by EY.
The study found that the company’s 10-year capital investment plan will support more than 20,000 additional direct, indirect and induced jobs annually during that period. This includes workers who directly build clean energy infrastructure and indirect jobs in other sectors of the economy. Additionally, the study found that the company’s activities will support $250 billion in economic output throughout the U.S. economy due to jobs, income paid to workers and payments made to suppliers.
In addition, it will generate over $5 billion in additional property tax revenue over the next 10 years to support schools, first responders, roads, and other infrastructure and essential services in our local communities.
Path to net-zero
The company also published its latest climate report today to provide transparency on its path to net-zero.
The company reaffirmed expectations to exceed 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and established interim carbon emission reduction targets of 80% for Scope 1 emissions by 2040 and 50% for Scope 2 and 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035. Duke Energy is one of the first utilities to address the totality of its impact – 95% of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions are now tied to a measurable net-zero goal.
As the company oversees the largest planned coal closure in the industry, it is focused on impacts to customers, communities and employees. Today, the company published principles and a framework to guide its efforts moving forward, which includes working with stakeholders to identify opportunities and needs that arise as a direct result of the transition, including economic opportunities that will promote employment and sustainable community benefits.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Cautionary language concerning forward-looking statements
This document includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions and can often be identified by terms and phrases that include “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “will,” “potential,” “forecast,” “target,” “guidance,” “outlook” or other similar terminology. Various factors may cause actual results to be materially different than the suggested outcomes within forward-looking statements; accordingly, there is no assurance that such results will be realized. These factors include, but are not limited to: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; State, federal and foreign legislative and regulatory initiatives, including costs of compliance with existing and future environmental requirements, including those related to climate change, as well as rulings that affect cost and investment recovery or have an impact on rate structures or market prices; The extent and timing of costs and liabilities to comply with federal and state laws, regulations and legal requirements related to coal ash remediation, including amounts for required closure of certain ash impoundments, are uncertain and difficult to estimate; The ability to recover eligible costs, including amounts associated with coal ash impoundment retirement obligations, asset retirement and construction costs related to carbon emissions reductions, and costs related to significant weather events, and to earn an adequate return on investment through rate case proceedings and the regulatory process; The costs of decommissioning nuclear facilities could prove to be more extensive than amounts estimated and all costs may not be fully recoverable through the regulatory process; Costs and effects of legal and administrative proceedings, settlements, investigations and claims; Industrial, commercial and residential growth or decline in service territories or customer bases resulting from sustained downturns of the economy, reduced customer usage due to cost pressures from inflation or fuel costs, and the economic health of our service territories or variations in customer usage patterns, including energy efficiency efforts, natural gas building and appliance electrification, and use of alternative energy sources, such as self-generation and distributed generation technologies; Federal and state regulations, laws and other efforts designed to promote and expand the use of energy efficiency measures, natural gas electrification, and distributed generation technologies, such as private solar and battery storage, in Duke Energy service territories could result in a reduced number of customers, excess generation resources as well as stranded costs; Advancements in technology; Additional competition in electric and natural gas markets and continued industry consolidation; The influence of weather and other natural phenomena on operations, including the economic, operational and other effects of severe storms, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes and tornadoes, including extreme weather associated with climate change; Changing investor, customer, and other stakeholder expectations and demands including heightened emphasis on environmental, social and governance concerns; The ability to successfully operate electric generating facilities and deliver electricity to customers including direct or indirect effects to the company resulting from an incident that affects the U.S. electric grid or generating resources; Operational interruptions to our natural gas distribution and transmission activities; The availability of adequate interstate pipeline transportation capacity and natural gas supply; The impact on facilities and business from a terrorist attack, cybersecurity threats, data security breaches, operational accidents, information technology failures or other catastrophic events, such as fires, explosions, pandemic health events or other similar occurrences; The inherent risks associated with the operation of nuclear facilities, including environmental, health, safety, regulatory and financial risks, including the financial stability of third-party service providers; The timing and extent of changes in commodity prices and interest rates and the ability to recover such costs through the regulatory process, where appropriate, and their impact on liquidity positions and the value of underlying assets; The results of financing efforts, including the ability to obtain financing on favorable terms, which can be affected by various factors, including credit ratings, interest rate fluctuations, compliance with debt covenants and conditions, an individual utility's generation mix, and general market and economic conditions; Credit ratings of the Duke Energy Registrants may be different from what is expected; Declines in the market prices of equity and fixed-income securities and resultant cash funding requirements for defined benefit pension plans, other post-retirement benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust funds; Construction and development risks associated with the completion of the Duke Energy Registrants’ capital investment projects, including risks related to financing, obtaining and complying with terms of permits, meeting construction budgets and schedules and satisfying operating and environmental performance standards, as well as the ability to recover costs from customers in a timely manner, or at all; Changes in rules for regional transmission organizations, including changes in rate designs and new and evolving capacity markets, and risks related to obligations created by the default of other participants; The ability to control operation and maintenance costs; The level of creditworthiness of counterparties to transactions; The ability to obtain adequate insurance at acceptable costs; Employee workforce factors, including the potential inability to attract and retain key personnel; The ability of subsidiaries to pay dividends or distributions to Duke Energy Corporation holding company (the Parent);The performance of projects undertaken by our nonregulated businesses and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; The effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by accounting standard-setting bodies; Asset or business acquisitions and dispositions, including our ability to successfully consummate the second closing of the minority investment in Duke Energy Indiana or that the sale may not yield the anticipated benefits; The impact of U.S. tax legislation to our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows and our credit ratings; The impacts from potential impairments of goodwill or equity method investment carrying values; The actions of activist shareholders could disrupt our operations, impact our ability to execute on our business strategy, or cause fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock; and the ability to implement our business strategy, including its carbon emission reduction goals. Additional risks and uncertainties are identified and discussed in the Duke Energy Registrants' reports filed with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at sec.gov. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the events described in the forward-looking statements might not occur or might occur to a different extent or at a different time than described. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Duke Energy Registrants expressly disclaim an obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Media contact: Neil Nissan
Analyst contact: Jack Sullivan