A reader wants to know what comes out of the smokestack at the Lake Julian plant.
ASHEVILLE Duke Energy added more than 1,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass energy in 2017, increasing its renewable energy portfolio by 20 percent, a company sustainability report released Monday shows.
The Charlotte-based company said it moved closer last year to its goal to own or have under contract 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass energy by 2020. Its current capacity of 6,400 megawatts, more than half of which is made up of solar energy, can power more than 1 million homes at peak capacity, according to a company news release issued Monday.
Cari Boyce, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of stakeholder strategy and sustainability, said the company is investing in cleaner energy to shift “from coal to natural gas with a greater reliance on renewable energy.”
In doing so, the company can reduce its environmental footprint and modernize its energy grid “to support new customer-focused technology,” Boyce said.
North Carolina has been cited as a national leader in renewable energy options, and particularly solar energy. The Solar Energy Industries Association said the state is ranked second behind only California for adding the most solar energy capacity in 2017.
The state is expected to add more than 4,400 megawatts of solar energy to its grid in the next five years.
Duke Energy operates 35 solar facilities in North Carolina with 2,500 megawatts connected to its energy grid. Solar power makes up 52 percent of the company’s renewable energy capacity while solar accounts for 38 percent and biomass is another 10 percent, its report shows.
The company’s sustainability report is posted in its entirety below.
Other notable highlights mentioned in the report include:
- Duke Energy said its economic development team, in conjunction with state and local authorities, attracted about $3.5 billion in investment and more than 5,200 jobs last year in North Carolina.
- The company’s shareholder return — the change in stock price plus the reinvestment of dividends — last year was 13 percent and it increased its quarterly dividend by 4 percent. Its adjusted diluted earnings per share in the year was $4.57.
- It deployed 1.2 million smart meters in 2017, raising the number among its customers by 40 percent. The reason, it said, is to provide greater access to information for consumers about their energy use.
- The Duke Energy Foundation invested $33.2 million in communities last year. Employees and retirees contributed 115,000 volunteer hours to communities the company serves.
- The company’s federal lobbying expenses in 2017 came to about $2.3 million. It included the usage of office space, salaries, consulting and event fees, among other costs. Duke also paid $918,200 to Section 527 political organizations to “support the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of a candidate.”
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