- The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) on Wednesday accepted as "adequate" Duke Energy's 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), though it said the utility's next proposal will need to include an economic analysis of potential coal plant retirements.
- Duke's IRP called for new gas and solar resources, as well as maintaining coal-fired plants. Environmental advocates criticized the plan for its reliance on fossil fuels.
- Duke officials say they are pleased with the decision and will provide regulators with "additional analysis as we continue this transition to even cleaner sources of energy." The utility's next IRP is due September 2020.
The 2020 IRP for Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas "shall include the information, analyses, and modeling regarding economic retirement of coal-fired units and consideration of all resource options," regulators concluded in their order.
“We're glad the N.C. Utilities Commission didn't rubber-stamp Duke's plans and instead ordered a full analysis of how their coal-heavy business-as-usual model stacks up against renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage," said Dave Rogers, Sierra Club's Southeast deputy regional director for the Beyond Coal campaign.
North Carolina is working to reduce emissions by 40% by 2025, relative to 2005 levels. Duke has retired several but continues to operate seven coal plants in North and South Carolina.
Duke officials told Utility Dive "ultimately, this is part of our strategy to drive out carbon emissions from our generation.
"We will provide the NCUC with additional analysis as we continue this transition to even cleaner sources of energy," the utility said in an email. "We look forward to working with the NCUC and diverse stakeholders to achieve the critical energy objectives for the state of North Carolina."