In 2017, Duke Energy continued to move forward with its $25 billion, 10-year modernization plan to bolster the company’s multistate electric grid – the power lines, substations and other equipment that deliver electricity from power plants to customers.
The initiative will increase reliability, reduce power outages, strengthen the grid against physical and cyber threats, give customers more information and more control over their electricity use, and accommodate additional solar energy and energy storage.
In North Carolina and South Carolina, the modernization initiative is called Power/Forward Carolinas – a $16 billion plan to significantly upgrade the electric grid while also providing a strong economic stimulus that includes creation of 17,000 jobs and more than $26 billion in economic output over 10 years.
In Florida, Duke Energy completed work on an automated, self-optimizing grid network that enables the grid to self-identify problems and reroute power to shorten or eliminate power outages. This advanced grid also will support the growth of solar power, energy storage and other emerging technologies.
Duke Energy plans to deploy 100 similar self-healing networks in some of the company’s other service areas in 2018, with the goal of having 80 percent of customers serviced by such networks in the next decade.
Additionally, the company plans to use data analytics to identify the most outage-prone power lines and relocate them underground. This initiative will reduce the number of power outages and shorten restoration times after storms.
Meanwhile, Duke Energy continues to install digital smart meters that give customers more convenience and more control over their energy usage. The company installed 1.2 million meters in 2017 and will install an additional 1.4 million in 2018.
Today, 40 percent of Duke Energy’s customers are equipped with smart meters. The company remains on track to bring the technology to all of its customers by 2021.
The meters help customers save money by giving them online access to information about their electricity consumption, so they can adjust usage as they see fit.
The meters also enable Duke Energy to immediately determine when a customer loses power, so the company can quickly dispatch a repair crew.