Duke Energy unveils sweeping clean energy and emissions reduction plan at inaugural ESG day

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  • Company to double renewable portfolio output to 16 gigawatts by 2025, and to 40 gigawatts for regulated utilities by 2050.

  • Plans to accelerate coal reduction across the Carolinas and Midwest.

  • New commitment to reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to net-zero by 2030.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy today announced an extensive expansion of its clean energy and emissions reduction plans to significantly increase the company’s carbon and methane reductions, coal plant retirements and renewable energy generation goals.

The sweeping plans were announced at the company’s inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) day. The virtual investor event featured Duke Energy’s senior executives who detailed the company’s ESG initiatives and unveiled new programs aimed at enhancing the company’s long-term commitment to delivering clean energy to the communities that it serves.

“We are enthusiastic about the prospect of scaling up our clean energy efforts, driving economic growth in our states and growing our business as we collaborate with stakeholders to develop smart energy policy and solutions for the future,” said Duke Energy chair, president and CEO Lynn Good. “Our confidence in these new commitments is grounded in Duke Energy’s strong record of results.”

10-year capital investment vision reflects long-term commitment, accelerates decarbonization

As the company executes and continues to evaluate the five-year plan announced in early 2020, the long-term opportunities and capital investment needs are becoming clearer, allowing management to provide a longer, 10-year capital investment vision that aligns with cleaner energy commitments.

This capital plan will enable Duke Energy to:

  • Double its enterprise-wide renewable portfolio from 8 gigawatts to 16 gigawatts by 2025, at least triple renewable capacity for our regulated utilities by 2030, and bring our regulated renewable capacity total to 40 gigawatts by 2050;

  • Add more than 11,000 megawatts of energy storage across our system by 2050 and continue to invest and advocate for emerging technologies;

  • Accelerate the amount of coal plants it plans to retire, adding to the 50 coal units, which total more than 6,500 megawatts, retired since 2010; and

  • Retire all coal-only units by 2030 in the Carolinas.

These actions reinforce Duke Energy’s progress to date and laser focus on building a smarter, cleaner energy future across the Carolinas, Midwest and Florida.

The company now expects that its current five-year capital plan will increase by about $2 billion to approximately $58 billion. Beyond that, Duke Energy’s 2025 to 2029 capital plan will be in the range of $65 billion to $75 billion as it pursues clean energy and renewables-driven capital needs for its communities. The company is actively mitigating the capital increases by reducing other costs through implementing digital capabilities, leveraging innovation and finding efficiencies across the business – all in an effort to maintain affordable customer bills.

The clean energy transition also provides the capability to grow earnings at the upper end of its current long-term adjusted EPS growth rate of 4 to 6 percent through 2024.

“The growth we’re already seeing, as well as the clean energy policies across our jurisdictions, allows us to stretch our capital plan’s runway and greatly expand our investments in our generation fleet and grid, which in turn will deliver significant value to our investors and the communities that we serve,” said Duke Energy CFO Steve Young.

Duke Energy furthers environmental commitments, announces net-zero methane target by 2030

Duke Energy also announced at its ESG investor day that it will reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to net-zero by 2030. The company has eliminated all cast iron and bare steel pipes in its natural gas delivery system, removing a major contributor to methane leakage. Further reductions will be achieved by:

  • Employing new technologies for measuring and monitoring, operational efficiencies and damage prevention initiatives in its natural gas business.

  • Procuring natural gas from suppliers that balance low methane emissions with affordable energy for customers.

Duke Energy has also joined ONE Future, a coalition of natural gas companies working to voluntarily reduce methane emissions, achieving an even greater impact to methane reduction nationwide.

“Working with the industry to address upstream emissions will complement the methane emissions reduction we will achieve in our natural gas business,” said Sasha Weintraub, Duke Energy’s senior vice president, natural gas business. “This comprehensive approach enables us to better serve the interests of our customers and meet the expectations of investors who value sound environmental practices.”

The natural gas segment continues to deliver strong, consistent financial results, has increased customer satisfaction scores and has decreased customer rates. The company expects to expand its renewable natural gas investments over the next decade, aligned with the broader clean energy transition.

Investor day webcast replay details

The replay of the ESG Day webcast and presentation can be viewed at duke-energy.com/esg.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities and 2,300 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve 7.8 million retail electric customers in six states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to 1.6 million customers in five states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Catherine Butler
Media line: 800.559.3853

Forward looking statement

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. Forward-looking 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 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 and the economic health of our service territories or variations in customer usage patterns, including energy efficiency efforts 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 and distributed generation technologies, such as private solar and battery storage, in Duke Energy service territories could result in customers leaving the electric distribution system, 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;

  • 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;

  • The ability to obtain the necessary permits and approvals and to complete necessary or desirable pipeline expansion or infrastructure projects in our natural gas business;

  • 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 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;

  • 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; and

  • The ability to implement our business strategy, including enhancing existing technology systems.

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.