Duke Energy has long been one of the nation's leading utilities for owning and purchasing renewable energy and in 2017, the company increased its renewable energy capacity 20 percent, according to its latest Sustainability Report.
The company’s goal is to own and purchase 8,000 megawatts (MW) of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020. That equals the capacity of four or five major power plants and could satisfy the annual energy needs of more than 1 million homes.
The company started 2017 with 5,400 MW under contract. At the end of the year, that grew to more than 6,400 MW: 52 percent solar; 38 percent wind and 10 percent biomass.
“Duke Energy continues to invest in cleaner energy, shifting from coal to natural gas with a greater reliance on renewable energy, reducing our environmental footprint and modernizing our energy grid to support new customer-focused technology,” said Cari Boyce, senior vice president, stakeholder strategy and sustainability and president, Duke Energy Foundation.
In addition to growing its renewable energy portfolio, the company continues 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 Duke Energy’s electricity emits no greenhouse emissions.
In its 12th year, Duke Energy’s Sustainability Report provides details of the company's performance in four key areas – customers, growth, operations and employees. The report also tracks the company's progress on other sustainability goals and programs, such as:
- The company’s carbon dioxide emissions continue to drop – down 31 percent from 2005 levels, with a 40 percent goal by 2030.
- Price per kilowatt-hour 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 a year early.
- Duke Energy remains an industry leader and at the top of its peer group in employee safety.
- In 2017, employees and retirees volunteered more than 115,000 hours in the community. May 1 marks the start of Duke Energy In Action Month, an annual initiative to galvanize employees around community service.
Duke Energy has a long history of being recognized as one of the top sustainable companies in the industry. For 12 straight years, Duke Energy has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index of companies for North America.