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Step 2. Pursuing new technology

William Baker WILLIAM BAKER
Manager, Load Research
Duke Energy
Charlotte, N.C.

 

We are using new technologies to reduce our GHG emissions on both the supply and demand sides. On the supply side, we’re building a cleaner-coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant that will replace a half-century-old coal plant. We’re building this 630-megawatt plant in southwestern Indiana, where the geology is conducive to underground capture and permanent storage of CO2 emissions. As that technology develops, we will evaluate its eventual use at the site.

In the Carolinas, we’re building an advanced 800-megawatt coal plant that will eventually replace 1,000 megawatts of old higher-emitting coal units in North Carolina. We’re not building an IGCC plant as the geology there is not suitable for CO2 storage, but this will likely be the last new coal plant we build in North Carolina for at least 20 years. By then, we would expect CO2 capture technology to advance so it can be used on virtually any coal plant, regardless of the geology. Also in North Carolina, we have applied to build more than 1,200 megawatts of natural gas-fired generation capacity to meet increasing demand. This lower-emitting gas generation will also replace older coal units.

We are using our more than three decades of experience in building and operating nuclear plants to plan a new 2,234-megawatt nuclear power plant in South Carolina — a plant that will have zero CO2 emissions.

We are increasing our use of renewable energy by purchasing renewable capacity to help meet our domestic energy demand with wind, biomass and solar power. Our Commercial Businesses are planning and developing more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power.

On the demand side, we are transforming our passive analog distribution grids into digital information networks to further improve reliability and expand energy efficiency. We are installing “smart” meters, remotely controlled appliance sensors and other energy-saving technologies in customers’ homes.

We intend to make energy efficiency part of our standard service offering. This includes providing customers with tools to reduce their energy use without sacrificing comfort, convenience or productivity.

Technology and energy efficiency breakthroughs won’t happen without the right regulatory treatment. We seek state regulations that treat energy efficiency as the “fifth fuel” — just like coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy in meeting growing demand. We seek to earn a return on the avoided cost of building new power plants through our energy efficiency gains.

 

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