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Key shortcomings in Duke Energy's North Carolina IRPs (Part 1)

January 01, 2021
Dennis Wamsted
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Key Findings

Integrated resource plans (IRPs) for Duke Energy’s two North Carolina utilities rely heavily on gas-fired plants that would have to be retired long before the end of their life span.

Executive Summary

Duke Energy’s proposed integrated resource plans (IRPs) for its two operating North Carolina utilities—Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress—outline six possible scenarios for the company to follow in the next 15 years.

Five scenarios entail significant new gas-fired power generation capacity to meet forecasted future power needs across its service territory. A sixth ‘no new gas’ scenario carries the highest estimated cost—almost as if Duke set it up as a strawman designed to illustrate that turning away from gas would be bad policy. Instead, it shows that the transition can indeed be accomplished without new gas generation, and the question now is just how to go about it to keep costs as low as possible.

In this series, IEEFA examines specific aspects of the Duke proposals to highlight errors we believe policymakers in the state need to consider. Among these is a review of Duke’s growth forecasts; its assumptions regarding battery storage; and a look at its approach toward new solar and wind generation capacity.

We begin with the company’s assumptions about natural gas—here, covering both the need for new gas supply, as well as the proposed construction of new combined cycle generation capacity—and how those assumptions are directly at odds with the company’s 2050 net-zero carbon pledge.

Dennis Wamsted

At IEEFA, Dennis Wamsted focuses on the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels to green generation resources, focusing particularly on the electric power sector.

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