Climate change update

Duke Energy believes U.S. climate change policy is an important issue. We’re committed to working with Congress and the White House to develop federal policies that would gradually lower greenhouse gas emissions over time, and that would not adversely affect the U.S. economy or our ability to continue providing affordable, reliable electricity to our more than 7 million customers.

Congress took no action on climate policy in 2012, and is unlikely to do so in 2013 due to deep political divisions on the issue. However, President Obama, during his 2013 State of the Union address, pledged to address climate change, with or without Congress.

In the absence of Congressional action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to act. In 2012, the agency proposed a rule that would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from certain types of fossil-fueled power plants that are permitted and constructed in the future. The agency is also expected to propose a rule to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants, although the timing of that rule is unknown.

Regardless of what happens in Washington, Duke Energy continues to move toward a lower-carbon future through an aggressive power plant modernization program. And in our planning for new power plants to meet future customer demand, we consider scenarios that include a price on CO2 emissions.

By retiring old coal plants, deploying clean energy technologies and improving energy efficiency (what we call “the fifth fuel”), the company is reducing the amount of carbon emitted per unit of electricity generated — a measure known as “carbon intensity.” Though Duke Energy is the largest power generator among U.S.-based, investor-owned power companies and ranks second in carbon emissions, we are only 14th in carbon intensity, based on 2011 data (latest available).