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Energy from Coal

Energy from coal

Coal plants have helped Duke Energy reliably meet customer needs for more than a century, powering growth and economic development in our local communities.

Coal fuel represents about 27% of our generation portfolio.

We are striving to provide cleaner energy to customers by modernizing and diversifying our fuel sources, relying less on coal-fired units and shifting our fuel mix to lower- and no-carbon fuel sources.

Since 2010, we have retired 6,539 megawatts (MW) of energy from coal-fired units and invested in natural gas and renewable energy sources, while also maintaining reliability and rates below the national average.

By 2024, we will retire an additional 862 MW for a total of 7,401 MW retired from coal-fired generation. That will be about one-third of our former coal portfolio.

In 2019, Duke Energy committed to cutting carbon dioxide emissions from electric generation in half by 2030 and striving for net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Our carbon reduction plan includes:

  • Doubling our portfolio of solar, wind and other renewables by 2025
  • Continuing to deploy low-cost natural gas to speed the transition from coal, while maintaining reliability
  • Expanding energy storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Continuing to operate existing carbon-free technologies, including nuclear and renewables

Duke Energy is the largest power generator in the nation to adopt a net-zero carbon goal, representing one of the most significant environmental commitments in the U.S. power sector.

See our annual Sustainability Report to learn more about Duke Energy's commitment to the environment.


Duke Energy has used coal to produce energy in the Carolinas since 1911. The first coal-fired plants in Greensboro, N.C., and Greenville, S.C., originally only supplemented the company's use of hydroelectricity.

This changed in the 1920s when energy demand exceeded what the hydroelectric stations could generate.

Duke Energy started using coal as a primary fuel source when the 369-MW Buck Steam Station in Spencer, N.C., started generating energy in 1926.

The Buck station could produce six times more energy than the company's largest hydroelectric station at the time, the 60-MW Wylie Hydroelectric Station.