Nuclear Pollution

Duke Energy’s Carbon Plan falls far short – Appalachian Voices

Duke Energy’s headquarters in Charlotte, NC Photo by Kevin Ridder

Last week, Duke Energy released its draft plan to reduce carbon emissions, as required by state law. The Carbon Plan, which proposes four pathways to reduce power sector emissions, will now be subject to public comments and response from legally intervening parties, before ultimately falling to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for action.

The proposed plan and its four scenarios, three of which completely miss the law’s 2030 deadline, are far too dependent on polluting resources like franked gas, and fail to capture the benefits of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar. Investments in battery storage and widespread energy efficiency aren’t just good for our environment or ratepayers’ pockets. They also create good, stable, well-paying jobs within communities across the state.

Additionally, Duke’s proposal fails to address numerous concerns raised during the Carbon Plan stakeholder process. The plan completely lacks any of the tools and resources that could offset its cost while reducing household energy burdens and promoting affordability for ratepayers already unable to meet monthly payments on their bill.

The proposed scenarios all include extensive build-outs of franked gas, a massive concern for landowners and environmental justice advocates. Additionally, the potential remains to site gas plants out of the state and neglect to count their emissions towards reduction totals, a clever accounting trick that would result in polluting other communities to improve ours.

We know that decarbonization can save ratepayers money. Distributed energy resources save ratepayers money while cleaning up the grid. But Duke’s plan relies on polluting resources like fracted gas and technologies like advanced nuclear that are expensive and unproven.

Appalachian Voices and other intervening parties have until July 15 to respond to Duke Energy’s plan, or respond with plans of their own. A series of five public hearings begins in Durham on July 11. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is required to issue a ruling by December 31.

As we wade through the carbon plan filings, we will continue to keep you updated on what the plan includes and the implications it has. Know that we’re here fighting for clean energy, environmental justice and affordable rates for all.

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