Electricity provider Duke Energy, one of the largest energy holding companies in the US, announced a series of new sustainability commitments, including significant expansions of the company’s clean energy and emission reduction plans. The new targets were announced at Duke’s inaugural ESG day investor event.
Duke Energy Chair, President and CEO Lynn Good, said:
“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. Our confidence in these new commitments is grounded in Duke Energy’s strong record of results.”
Duke’s sustainability goals include doubling its renewable energy portfolio from 8 gigawatts to 16 gigawatts by 2025, tripling renewable capacity for the company’s regulated utilities by 2030, and bringing regulated renewable capacity total to 40 gigawatts by 2050. The company also aims to add more than 11,000 megawatts of energy storage across our system by 2050, and accelerate coal plant retirements, including all coal-only units in the Carolinas by 2030. Finally, Duke announced that it has set a new target to achieve net zero methane emissions in its natural gas business by 2030, and that it has joined ONE Future, a coalition of natural gas companies working to voluntarily reduce methane emissions.
Sasha Weintraub, Duke Energy’s Senior Vice President, natural gas business, said:
“Working with the industry to address upstream emissions will complement the methane emissions reduction we will achieve in our 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.”
Concurrent with its new sustainability goals, Duke Energy announced that it is raising its capital investment targets as it accelerates decarbonization efforts. The company now expects that its current five-year capital plan will increase by about $2 billion to approximately $58 billion, and its 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 also stated that it expects the clean energy transition will provide the capability to grow earnings at the upper end of its current long-term adjusted EPS growth rate of 4-6% through 2024.
Duke Energy CFO Steve Young, said:
“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.”
Investments in renewables and clean energy have begun paying off for several electricity providers. After investing more than $20 billion in renewable assets over the past decade, energy provider NextEra Energy has emerged as one of the best performing companies in the utilities sector. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that NextEra has recently approached Duke Energy with an offer to purchase the $60 billion utility, citing people familiar with the matter.