North Carolina lifts limits on Duke residential efficiency program
- The North Carolina Utilities Commission has allowed Duke Energy Carolinas to expand an energy efficiency program, loosening requirements that had dissuaded some property owners from participating.
- The program targets multi-family dwellings but required at least four units in the building to qualify. Duke told regulators that some property owners were unwilling to make improvements when only a portion of their units qualified.
- Energy efficiency plays a major role in Duke's plans to reduce its coal use. In the next six years, Duke has announced plans to retire nine more coal-fired units with a total capacity of more than 2 GW.
A lot of work goes into crafting utility offerings, but you can never plan for everything. The prior limits on Duke's multi-unit program meant that not all buildings qualified at properties made up of multiple buildings — and owners balked at only retrofitting some apartments.
The program installs efficient lighting and water-saving measures in multi-family dwellings, including pipe wrap insulation, low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads.
According to the May 15 order, the modification approved by North Carolina regulators removes "the restriction on the number of individually-metered units per building and expand[s] availability of the program to all individually-metered multi-family dwelling units."
In March, Duke unveiled its 2017 Climate Report to Shareholders, outlining how it intends to reduce its carbon footprint and what its generation fleet will look like in 2030.
Duke got a third of its generation from coal last year, and plans to reduce that to 16% by 2030, assisted by strong investment in natural gas. Renewables will also make up 10% of Duke's generation by 2030.
Last year, the company's regulated utility generation was about 35% existing nuclear, 1% hydro, 30% natural gas and 34% coal, according to calculations in megawatt-hours.
Duke is also planning to expand its efficiency programs, and expects cumulative energy savings to grow to 22,000 GWh by 2030.
In April, North Carolina Utilities Commission staff recommended regulators reject Duke's prepaid efficiency proposal, arguing pre-pay options and usage data should simply be standard options when new advanced metering infrastructure is installed.
- North Carolina Utilities Commission Order
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