Innovation

Duke Energy is driving the technology innovation needed for a carbon-free future.


Modernizing our system

We continually look for opportunities to improve and modernize how we provide cleaner energy to customers. In addition to retiring older coal units and replacing that with cleaner natural gas and renewables, we continue to upgrade our safe and carbon-free nuclear and hydroelectric units. We're investing to improve the electric grid to make it more resilient in severe weather, reduce outages and enable the addition of more renewables. We plan to own or contract 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass by 2020. We're planning to at least double our portfolio of solar, wind and other renewables by 2025.

Providing direct value for customers is a key element in these investments. We installed 1.6 million smart meters in 2018, meaning more than 62 percent of our customers now have meters that provide real-time data that enables them to make informed energy choices.

Part of our contribution to reducing carbon also involves helping communities lower transportation emissions. We've proposed a bold $76 million initiative in North Carolina, the largest investment in electric vehicle infrastructure ever in the Southeast. This will include nearly 2,500 new charging stations and encompasses multiple components to serve different transportation sectors. A similar $10 million pilot program is being considered by South Carolina regulators, and we expect to have installed more than 500 charging stations in Florida by 2022. Learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles.

Investing in research, technology and communities

We expect to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions by 2050 with the technology that exists today. To get to near-zero, we'll need a variety of innovations that don't exist yet at the commercial scale. More effective carbon capture, longer-lasting energy storage and yet-to-be-imagined discoveries will be important to our collective success. We're investing in research and development to advance these important innovations and will advocate for effective policies to help ensure they are ready in time to deploy. For example, our East Bend Station in Kentucky is the host site for research on a membrane-based carbon capture system retrofit.

Part of that investment includes a $500 million commitment to bring 300 megawatts of battery storage to the Carolinas online over the next 15 years. Battery storage and microgrids are key investments that can help better integrate solar, while improving customer reliability and grid security. The company also has more than 2,000 megawatts of pumped storage hydro power, another energy storage method. We plan to increase capacity at our Bad Creek facility in South Carolina by more than 300 megawatts with upgrades there.

We continue to invest in the vitality of communities where we operate as well. Through our focused economic development efforts, we helped bring nearly 14,000 new jobs and $5.3 billion in private sector investment to the six states served by Duke Energy's electric utilities. The Duke Energy Foundation provided more than $1 million to local economic development agencies and initiatives to fund job creation and business development. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually to the communities we serve, with focus areas in K-12 education, workforce development, nature/conservation and strategic state investments. Total charitable giving in 2018 was nearly $60 million, including employee contributions and volunteering.

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