Study: Duke Energy Resistance to Clean Energy Costs Ratepayers in North and South Carolina $10 Billion
Southeast Energy News:
Ratepayers in the Carolinas could save nearly $10 billion if Duke Energy increased solar power sixfold, shuttered coal plants ahead of schedule, and abandoned goals for a new nuclear plant, a new report shows.
Clean energy advocates who commissioned the research from Daymark Energy Advisors say it’s a game-changer in the perennial debate over the utility’s long-range generation strategy.
Duke’s 15-year forecasts have drawn criticism in years past for their limited reliance on renewable energy, but the North Carolina Utilities Commission has always approved the plans with few changes, judging them the “least cost” option for ratepayers.
The Daymark report marks the first time advocates in North Carolina have demonstrated to this degree of specificity that more clean energy and less fossil fuel and nuclear power will be cheaper for its customers.
First unveiled in documents filed with commissioners last fall, Duke’s projections have provoked nearly universal scorn to date.
Nine advocacy groups and businesses have intervened in Duke’s planning process, allowing the submission of technical comments; none of the commenters so far have been positive.
More than 3,000 people have signed on to public comments calling for more wind, solar and efficiency. Over 30 testified at a recent public hearing to object to the plans in person.
“Duke is doubling down on fossil fuels rather than investing in low-cost wind and solar,” said Elizabeth Adams of Cary, who said she had solar panels on her home. “I’m asking Duke Energy to change their plan, to go 100 percent renewable energy and energy efficiency.”