Duke Energy - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Procurement, Utilities, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  April 28, 2016

Duke Energy, Southern look to renewables growth; Duke targets 8 GW by 2020

Duke Energy, one of the largest utility holding companies in the U.S., has pronounced a new growth strategy: Renewable energy. 

The company, whose regulated utility territories span six states in the Southeast and Midwest, said in an April 28 news release hinged to its 2015 sustainability report that it has increased its 2020 renewable energy goal by 33%. Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy expects to own or purchase 8,000 MW of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020, which gets it to the 33% increase from its prior goal of 6,000 MW established in 2013.

As of the end of 2015, Duke said it owned or purchased nearly 4,400 MW of wind, solar and biomass: 49% wind, 39% solar and 12% biomass. Still, that 4,400 MW pales in comparison to the more than 52,000 MW of total generation capacity Duke operates in the U.S. 

Duke Energy, like many of its peers, has been amassing renewable energy projects for a number of years through its regulated utilities and also through Duke Energy Renewables, an unregulated, commercial segment of the corporation. Of the 4,400 MW under the corporate umbrella in 2015, 2,500 MW lies within Duke Renewables,  the remaining 1,900 MW is spread throughout its regulated utilities.

The announcement follows April 27 news that Atlanta-based Southern Co., the massive utility holding company to Duke's south, is looking for growth through renewable asset acquisitions, wind in particular, at its unregulated generation arm, Southern Power. 

"I bet you we'll be bigger than that in '17 and '18," Southern Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning reportedly said during the company's first-quarter earnings call, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. "You'll still see solar. You will see more wind than we've traditionally done in the past would be my guess."

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