Duke Energy Commits to Convening Climate Working Group in North Carolina

Settlement agreement set the stage for climate resilience planning in the Southeast

North Carolina — The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has released two orders — on March 31 and April 16, 2021 — regarding Duke Energy’s rate case in the Carolinas. In addition to a lower-than-expected rate increase, the orders approve the terms of a settlement agreement reached between Duke Energy and renewable energy advocacy group Vote Solar in July 2020.

Chief among the settlement’s provisions is a commitment by Duke Energy to convene a climate risk and resilience working group within six months. The group will identify pathways toward a more resilient and decarbonized power grid. Vote Solar will continue to play a role in the formation of the working group, relying on its industry knowledge and relationships to build a strong team of experts.

“By bringing together the right mix of technical expertise and commitment to a just and resilient energy system, we’re optimistic this group can make significant strides towards a cleaner, more equitable grid.” says Tyler Fitch, Southeast Regulatory Director at Vote Solar. “We look forward to collaborating with Duke Energy to put this essential team into place.”

During settlement negotiations, Vote Solar positioned climate change as a vital consideration for Duke and NCUC, urging both groups to move toward a decentralized, solar-powered grid.

Vote Solar emphasizes that, while the settlement is a promising start, there’s much more work to be done. Currently, the group is opposing a Duke Energy plan that would significantly increase levels of carbon-emitting gas in the Carolinas. Says Fitch, “we will continue holding Duke Energy accountable to its public climate commitments and moving the needle forward on decarbonization, in the Carolinas and beyond.”

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