Duke Energy vows zero carbon by 2050

One of the nation’s largest utility holding companies has updated its climate strategy with the new goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Duke Energy announced the revised climate goals Tuesday and accelerated its near-term goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions from electric generation. The more immediate goal is decrease carbon output 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, a full 10 percent below the original plan.

“We are making a cleaner energy future a reality for our customers and communities,” said Lynn Good, chairman, president and CEO. “A diverse mix of renewables, nuclear, natural gas, hydro and energy efficiency are all part of this vision, and we’ll take advantage of economical solutions to continue that progress. In the longer-term, innovation and new technologies will be critical to a net-zero carbon future.”

Environmental leaders nationwide applauded the utility for its deeper stand on carbon emissions.

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed rapid growth in the number of U.S. electric utilities making commitments to significant carbon-reduction goals,” Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance, said in a statement. “We congratulate Duke Energy for their announcement joining this group. As one of the nation’s largest utilities, their commitment will have a meaningful impact on efforts to achieve a carbon-free energy system.”

North Carolina-based Duke has embraced new solar generation, making its home state second only to California in that capacity. Just last week, the utility’s renewables wing expanded its portfolio by announced the acquisition of the 200-MW Rambler solar project in Green County, Texas.

Duke Energy is on track to own or purchase 8,000 MW of wind, solar and biomass energy by 2020, according to the company website. The power is sold to electric utilities, electric cooperatives, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers.

Duke provides power to approximately 7.7 million customers in six states and holds an electric generating capacity of about 51,000 MW.

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