Duke Energy’s Path to Net-Zero Carbon

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Duke Energy is serious about doing its part to deliver the cleaner energy future that its customers want and deserve, while keeping energy affordable and reliable.

In September 2019, the company refreshed its climate strategy and announced the acceleration of its carbon-reduction goals from electric generation. Duke Energy’s new goals are to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at least 50 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, and strive to be net-zero by 2050. The company is the largest power generator in the United States to have such a net-zero goal.

Duke Energy continues to achieve significant decreases in overall carbon emissions, driven largely by utilizing more natural gas and renewables generation and less coal. As of year-end 2019, the company has reduced carbon emissions by 39 percent from 2005 levels.

While there are many factors that influence emissions on an annual basis, Duke Energy is confident in its ability to meet its 2030 goal of at least a 50 percent carbon emissions reduction, and its 2050 goal of net-zero carbon emissions.

Achieving these ambitious goals requires a bold vision and a pragmatic strategy. This vision includes continuing to modernize the current fleet and grid with increased investments in renewables, storage, natural gas and energy efficiency. Importantly, the company plans to continue to operate its existing nuclear fleet and retire coal plants.

To reach our net-zero 2050 target, we must have additional non-emitting technologies. We are working with the private and public sectors to drive research, development and demonstration of new technologies – such as longer-duration (up to seasonal) storage, carbon capture, advanced nuclear and new, carbon-free solutions that don’t exist yet at scale.

Duke Energy continues to achieve significant decreases in overall carbon emissions, driven largely by utilizing more natural gas and renewables generation and less coal.

The company has taken a holistic approach to managing the climate issue that includes three key areas of focus: adaptation, mitigation and innovation.

  • Adaptation – Duke Energy is preparing for the changing global climate, including water conservation and storm preparation.
  • Mitigation – Duke Energy is working to slow climate change with a variety of carbon-reduction and land conservation efforts.
  • Innovation – Duke Energy is helping drive the technology necessary for a carbon-free future, including grid modernization and new technologies.

The company has already made meaningful progress in each area and will continue to update plans to ensure that climate change is tackled from all angles.

You can read more on this approach in the company’s 2020 Climate Report.