Unusable fossil fuels in Duke’s revised energy plans will cost Carolina customers $6 billion

Updated plan is even worse for climate and consumers than the original

Raleigh, N.C. — Existing and proposed fossil fuel investments in Duke Energy’s revised 15-year energy resource plans for the Carolinas will become unusable during their planned lifetime, costing $6 billion, equivalent to $1,100 per Carolina family in today’s dollars, a new report from Vote Solar found — an increase of $1.2 billion over Duke’s original proposals analyzed by this model.

“The South Carolina Public Service Commission sent Duke back to the drawing board. But what they drew was even worse for climate,” said Tyler Fitch, lead author of the report and Southeast Regulatory Director at Vote Solar. “Cleaner, affordable alternatives exist. It’s clear at this point that Duke’s climate plans simply aren’t credible. the PSC must provide more instructive guidance to Duke to ensure climate risks are considered and addressed.”

Duke Energy originally proposed six different Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), which the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected. In its rejection of Duke’s original plans, the PSC noted that “large-scale buildouts of natural gas generation assets, at the expense of renewables and storage, endangers Duke’s internal commitment to net-zero generation.”

The revised plans reflect Duke’s first attempt to propose just one plan per service territory as required by South Carolina law. The revised plans would build an additional 4 gigawatts of new gas-fired generation, in spite of state and company commitments to reduce climate pollution. While not yet submitted in North Carolina, the company will ultimately decide on one plan that serves all customers in the Carolinas.

“Damage from this year’s severe storms and extreme weather is just a preview of the potential impacts climate change will have on the nation’s energy infrastructure, ” said Fitch. “Failing to recognize these impacts by proposing additional emissions in the form of new, gas-fired generation—rather than clean, resilient alternatives—would lead to steep costs for families in the Carolinas that can still be avoided.”

The $6 billion in stranded costs includes fossil-fueled power plants that will be outcompeted by more economically competitive technology, affected by climate-amplified heat waves, weather, and flooding, or rendered unusable due to constraints on carbon pollution. These power plants are considered ‘stranded’ assets because Duke Energy will be unable to realize some of the expected value of these investments. Learn more about the original analysis and model behind the report here.

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