Duke Energy Files Modified 15-Year Integrated Resource Plans, But Still Fails to Protect Ratepayers from Climate RIsk
Statement from Vote Solar Southeast Regulatory Director Tyler Fitch
“On initial review, Duke Energy’s modified resource plans appear to take limited steps in the right direction toward managing climate and protecting ratepayers from massive economic risk. While the modified plans are only required to implement some of the required changes ordered by the Public Service Commission in its rejection of Duke’s original plans, they do make several modifications that bring Duke’s planning closer to the public interest. Duke Energy’s acknowledgement of the need to shut down its coal fleet as early as possible to protect its customers, for example, shows the urgent and increasing role of climate-related economic risks and the need to plan for a transition to a just and clean energy system.
Ultimately, the limited modifications in these plans are not enough to protect ratepayers from needless economic risk, implement the Commission’s directions or successfully manage Duke’s own climate risk. The modified plans as filed would trade in one stranded asset for another by replacing virtually all of Duke’s coal capacity with risky, carbon-emitting gas assets. And, despite explicit direction from the Public Service Commission, Duke’s plans appear to constrain the availability of low-cost solar on its system–resulting in a more expensive grid for everyone. We will continue to review this plan as a part of our work to hold powerful utilities accountable to the communities they serve, cultivate a stronger and more just utility planning process, and support a swift transition to a clean energy economy that works for everyone.”
On Friday, August 27, Duke Energy filed modified Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) with the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC). This filing comes after a June ruling from the PSC, in which Commissioners rejected the filed IRPs and directed Duke to make several short- and long-term revisions to its plans.
A coalition of clean energy advocates across the Carolinas intervened in the initial proceedings. As an expert witness, Tyler Fitch made the case that Duke’s 2020 IRPs did not adequately consider climate-related risks to its system, including the risk of stranded coal and gas assets.