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Utility Dive:

Duke Energy is eyeing an early retirement of its coal-fired plants by the end of the decade, according to the revised integrated resource plans (IRP) filed with South Carolina regulators Friday for its subsidiaries, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas.

Duke’s revised IRPs also call for adding 3,000 MW of solar energy and 600 MW of wind power over the next 15 years, compared to earlier proposals South Carolina’s Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected in June. Duke’s preferred alternative would add 15,500 MW in solar power by 2035, compared to 12,300 MW under a scenario in the earlier proposal. 

However, environmental groups are criticizing Duke’s revised IRPs — essentially blueprints for future power plant development — faulting the reliance of the utility subsidiaries on new natural gas-fired plants to pick up the slack as coal-fired plants are shuttered.

The revised plans from Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas come after South Carolina’s PSC voted 4-1 in late June to reject the Duke IRPs and send the company back to the drawing board.

The commission, among other items, questioned Duke’s estimation of the capacity of solar power to meet South Carolina’s energy needs, while also calling on the company to pick a single “preferred alternative” among the several scenarios it presented.

[Scott Van Voorhis]

More: Duke explores shutting coal-fired plants by 2030 in South Carolina plans

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