What we do at Duke Energy matters far beyond providing reliable service to our customers. Our commitment to sustainability pushes us to do more – to leave a positive, long-term impact on the environment and communities we serve.
Part of that sustainability story is the work Duke Energy is doing to promote and grow renewable energy in North Carolina and elsewhere around the nation. Need proof? I invite you to read our recent Sustainability Report. In the report, you’ll find facts and figures measuring the progress we are making against our sustainability goals.
One fact will certainly jump out: In 2017, the company’s renewable energy capacity grew by about 20 percent. This is pretty remarkable for one year. Overall, our renewable push is helped by 35 Duke Energy solar facilities in North Carolina – a big reason the state is No. 2 in the nation for solar power.
As part of our mission to create a cleaner energy mix, we set a sustainability goal to own and purchase 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020. That equals the capacity of four or five major power plants and could easily satisfy the annual energy needs of more than 1 million homes when operating at peak output.
Last year, we added 1,000 MW of renewable energy capacity across the country, and almost 80 percent of that is staying right here in North Carolina.
In addition to growing our renewable energy portfolio, we continue to rely on two other “zero greenhouse gas” sources: more than 8,800 MW of nuclear capacity and 3,500 MW of hydroelectric and pumped storage hydro.
Combining nuclear, renewables and hydroelectric power, about 40 percent of our current generation mix emits absolutely no greenhouse emissions.
For the past 12 years, Duke Energy’s Sustainability Report has been a report card of how the company is creating a more sustainable company. We have more than 20 sustainability goals that encompass all areas of the company. In many ways, our data speaks for itself:
— The company’s carbon dioxide emissions continue to drop – down 31 percent from 2005 levels, with a goal of achieving a 40 percent reduction by 2030.
— Our price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity remains lower than the national average in all six states the company serves retail electric customers.
— The company met its goal to recycle 80 percent of its solid waste.
We are proud of the progress we’ve made and will continue to focus on delivering a smarter energy future focus for our customers.
Cari Boyce is a Duke Energy senior vice president for Stakeholder Strategy and Sustainability.