Front Porch Blog

Duke Energy’s Carbon Plan falls far short

The plan, required by state law, focuses on fossil fuels instead of clean energy

Duke Energy Center

Duke Energy’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Kevin Ridder

Last week, Duke Energy released its draft plan to reduce carbon emissions, as required by state law. The Carbon Plan, which proposes four pathways to reduce power sector emissions, will now be subject to public comments and response from parties legally intervening, before ultimately falling to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for action.

The proposed plan and its four scenarios, three of which completely miss the law’s 2030 deadline, are far too dependent on polluting resources like fracked gas, and fail to capture the benefits of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar. Investments in battery storage and widespread energy efficiency aren’t just good for our environment or ratepayers’ pockets. They also create good, stable, well-paying jobs within communities across the state.

The utilities commission needs to hear from you! Attend a meeting!

Additionally, Duke’s proposal fails to address numerous concerns raised during the Carbon Plan stakeholder process. The plan completely lacks any of the tools and resources that could offset its cost while reducing household energy burdens and promoting affordability for ratepayers already unable to meet monthly payments on their bill.

The proposed scenarios all include extensive build-outs of fracked gas, a massive concern for landowners and environmental justice advocates. Additionally, the potential remains to site gas plants out of state and neglect to count their emissions towards reduction totals, a clever accounting trick that would result in polluting other communities to improve ours.

We know that decarbonization can save ratepayers money. Distributed energy resources save ratepayers money while cleaning up the grid. But Duke’s plan relies on polluting resources like fracked gas and technologies like advanced nuclear that are expensive and unproven.

Appalachian Voices and other intervening parties have until July 15 to respond to Duke Energy’s plan, or respond with plans of their own. A series of five public hearings begins in Durham on July 11. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is required to issue a ruling by December 31.

As we wade through the carbon plan filings, we will continue to keep you updated on what the plan includes and the implications it has. Know that we’re here fighting for clean energy, environmental justice and affordable rates for all.

Josh McClenney is a field coordinator for Appalachian Voices' work on energy democracy. He can most likely be found playing with his two dogs, at the nearest outdoor concert or trying to achieve the perfect cheesecake.


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One COMMENT
  1. Thanks for insightful comments on the Duke Carbon plan. I’m especially worried as you are about the “extensive build-outs of fracked gas” since the methane “spillage” would quickly wipe out any advantages in slowing down warming at this critical juncture.

    It strikes me that all energy companies have participated in the hiding of the real truth about their great hand in making the climate crisis what it is and without really offering the big exertions necessary at this point–too little too late. I believe that communities that have become dependent on oil and gas money to support jobs, schools, etc. etc. raise the moral question of obligation to help in the often touch transitions.

    And as you mention, the question about affordable rates!

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