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Utilities Commission To Host New Hanover Hearing On Duke’s Carbon Plan

By Staff Reports, posted Jul 11, 2022

The N.C. Utilities Commission will host its second of six public hearings on Duke Energy’s Carbon Plan in New Hanover County on Tuesday evening. 

The state’s largest energy provider is being compelled under state law to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% of its 2005 levels by 2030. It must also achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Reaching these new benchmarks requires major operational shifts, which will likely impact ratepayers. Last year, House Bill 951 dictated the utilities commission to take all reasonable steps to achieve these emissions reductions. 

The utilities commission must adopt a carbon plan by the end of the year, which it will review every two years. Duke Energy proposed its carbon plan in May, which includes plans to retire all coal plants by 2035; the utility has so far retired two-thirds of its coal plants in the Carolinas. 

In a range of options that employ a mix of energy sources, Duke proposes to increase rates by 1.9% to 2.7% annually through 2035. 

Duke outlined four distinct portfolios. Only one offers a path to achieve the state-targeted emission reduction by 2030; the other three would get there between two and four years later than intended by ramping up reliance on wind energy and small modular nuclear generation.

A Duke subsidiary, Duke Energy Renewables Wind, won rights to plan a wind farm in one of the two leases making up the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area in a May auction. 

Several public, private and nonprofit entities have filed to intervene in the state process so far. A handful of environmental groups are advocating for the utility to take more dramatic steps to reduce emissions. 

View the Duke plan online. The New Hanover County hearing will take place in room 317 inside the historic courthouse and begins at 7 p.m. ​

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