Duke Energy considers offshore wind and advanced nuclear to meet NC decarbonization goals

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Dive brief:

  • Offshore wind is among options Duke Energy expects to discuss with North Carolina regulators following the state’s new target to cut carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 at power plants state electricity, Lynn Good, CEO and president of the utility, told analysts Thursday. during the call for the company’s third quarter results.
  • The utility will work with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in the coming year to develop a decarburization plan aligned with energy legislation signed by Governor Roy Cooper, D, on October 13.
  • Duke posted adjusted quarterly earnings per share of $ 1.88 and reduced its 2021 adjusted EPS forecast range from $ 5.15 to $ 5.30. A long-term adjusted EPS growth rate of 5% to 7% may be possible through 2025, the company said.

Dive overview:

North Carolina’s new energy bill, House Bill 951, takes a comprehensive approach by mandating the decarbonization of 70% of the state’s energy. power sector in the current decade and full decarbonisation by 2050. In particular, the new law is designed as a framework, leaving state regulators to spell out the details of exactly how to achieve these large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Duke’s Good told analysts on Thursday’s call that she expects offshore wind to be part of discussions with North Carolina regulators over the coming year on a longer-term decarbonization plan. .

In the 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed with state regulators, Duke envisioned offshore wind as part of a mix of power sources that would allow the company to achieve the reduction level. 70% of carbon emissions, she said.

“We are evaluating the off-shore wind,” Good said. And in In response to an analyst’s question, she also dropped a hint about what Duke might assess.

Good noted the Federal Office of Ocean Energy Management’s decision last month to go ahead with the sale of a lease for the Carolina Long Bay offshore wind development site off the coast of Carolina. from North and South Carolina.

“I think you may have noticed that a Notice of Proposed Sale had been issued for a lease off the coast of North Carolina,” Good said. “The Kitty Hawk rental area is also there, so I would just say… there’s more to come here.”

Duke, which operates six nuclear reactors in the Carolinas, has also not ruled out small nuclear reactors as part of his decarbonization campaign. One of the emission reduction scenarios Duke put forward in his IRP 2020 “included advanced nuclear or a small modular reactor,” Good said.

Good said “momentum is building” at the state level on efforts to decarbonize the power grid, with states that Duke is providing electricity by showing interest in building a “quantity of base of electric vehicle infrastructure “.

There are also at the state level “increasing opportunities for investments in renewable energies, for investments in storage, for energy efficiency, for investments in demand response,” she said.

State-level efforts, in turn, could be significantly boosted if the clean energy investments, built into the $ 1.75 trillion reconciliation bill, Congress made clear, said. Good.

“Of course, all the states are monitoring what’s going on at the federal level,” Good said. “And tax incentives in particular can add to our progress in states.”


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