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Environmental Indicators

Management Approach

We constantly look for ways to improve and grow our company while reducing our impact on the environment.






Weight or volume of materials

Most high-volume materials are purchased by length, reel, pole, transformer, case, truckload or other measure with no consistent relationship to weight or volume. See G4-EN3 for fuel quantities.


Materials used that are recycled content

It is not possible to precisely determine how much of the material we use to provide electric and natural gas service comes from recycled sources. A portion of steel, aluminum, other metals and plastics may come from recycled sources, and we actively pursue recycling of these materials when their useful life has been reached. Nearly all fuel used is virgin material, because sufficient volumes of recycled fuels are not available..



Energy Consumption

Most of the energy we use is from fuels. See the Fuels Consumed for U.S. Electric Generation table.

Another significant energy use is electricity for the buildings we occupy. In 2019 Duke Energy consumed approximately 212 gigawatt-hours of electricity in its commercial buildings.

Indirect energy consumption

We do not centrally track these data. Indirect energy consumption is very small relative to direct energy consumption from fuels to generate electricity.


Energy consumption outside of Duke Energy

We track the amount of energy we supply to customers, and have many initiatives to help them save energy.

In Our Sustainability Plan And Goals we have a goal to achieve a cumulative reduction in customer energy consumption of 20,000 gigawatt-hours (equivalent to the annual usage of 1.67 million homes) by year-end 2020. We also have a goal to achieve a cumulative reduction in peak demand of 6,900 megawatts (MW) (equivalent to11.5 600-MW power plants) by 2020. Click Customers in the Plan for an update.


Energy Intensity and Reduction

2019 fossil fuel consumed is approximately 325 million MWh.

MWh electricity produced, from our "2019 Sustainability Report", was 216,406 thousand MWh.

The calculated Energy Intensity (electricity produced / fossil energy used) was:
0.58 in 2013
0.67 in 2019

(2013 is the base year for our reporting of this G4 indicator.)


Energy Efficiency

In the electric utility industry context, energy efficiency is pertinent to both generation efficiency, which we report in GRI economic indicator EU11, and in use of electricity by customers, which we report in G4-EN4, and here.

Energy efficiency programs vary by state and we provide information for each state on our website.


Commentary on Water Management

See Water Quality Initiatives.


Water Withdrawal

See Water Withdrawn and Consumed in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.


Water sources and habitats affected by withdrawals

Water for various aspects of electric generation is drawn from surface and underground sources. Large volume withdrawals are regulated by state or federal permit conditions that are designed to prevent adverse impacts on aquatic species and communities.


Water recycled or reused

Our largest, most material use of water is for electric generation cooling. Approximately 98 percent of the water withdrawn is returned to the source after once-through cooling. The returned water is available for other uses.

Our largest recycling of water is through use of closed-loop cooling systems, and we do not record the volume of water recycled through these systems. See Water Withdrawn and Consumed for Electric Generation in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.

In 2019, water consumption totaled approximately 337 gallons per net MWh electricity produced.



Land in and adjacent to protected areas and areas of high biological diversity value

We help protect the biological diversity of lands we own or manage. Specific permits and licenses regulate our operations in some of these areas. See Our Programs.


Impacts on high biodiversity value areas, including transmission line corridors

Environmental analyses performed during planning stages of new facilities are used to identify potential areas of high biodiversity value. If such areas are found, permit conditions are designed to prevent or minimize impacts.


Programs to manage biodiversity

Duke Energy is a strong partner with wildlife and biodiversity management and educational organizations. We also provide examples of how we are keeping the lights on, and protecting wildlife.


Habitats Protected or Restored

We manage and protect various habitats surrounding our facilities and along our rights of way.


Special species habitats

At times, species of special concern to state and/or federal agencies are found on company land. We work closely with agency personnel to protect these species. See G4-EN12.

Emissions, Effluents, and Waste


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

See Emissions from Electric Generation and our response to the Carbon Disclosure Project.


Other relevant indirect GHG emissions

We do not track or report our indirect emissions. They are a very small percentage relative to our direct emissions. Please see page 21 of Duke Energy's 2020 Climate Report.


Initiatives to reduce GHG emissions, and reductions achieved

See Global Climate Change, our 2020 Climate Report, and an update on our carbon emissions reduction goals in our Sustainability Plan And Goals (click Operations for an update). We estimate that our climate targets cover approximately 99% of total scope 1 and 2 emissions.


Ozone depleting emissions, by weight

We do not centrally track these data. Each facility is responsible for its own compliance with recordkeeping requirements.


NOx, SO2 & other significant air emissions by type and weight

See the Emissions from Electric Generation and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) tables in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.

Mercury emissions from electric generation to air are provided in this table.

Mercury Air Emissions


Total water discharges

Given our combinations of once-through cooling systems, recirculating systems and other water discharges, we do not record a total quantity.


Total weight of waste by type and disposal method

See the Waste table in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.


Total number and volume of significant spills

See the Reportable Oil Spills table in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.


Transported hazardous waste

See the Waste table in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.

In 2019, hazardous waste generation totaled approximately 0.0021 pounds per net MWh electricity produced


Water discharge impacts

Discharges are to rivers and lakes by regulatory permits. Those permits and our operating practices are designed to protect the environment and aquatic species.

Products and Services


Environmental impact mitigation

We offer a number of programs to help residential and business customers be more energy efficient and we also protect sensitive habitats on our property.


Percentage of product that is recycled

Electricity and natural gas cannot be recycled in the usual sense. We recycled over 90,000 tons of solid wastes resulting from our operations in 2019. See the Waste table in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.



Incidents and fines for environmental noncompliance

See the Environmental Regulatory Citations table in the Environmental Performance Metrics section of our Sustainability Report.



Environmental protection expenditures

We do not centrally track this broad range of expenditures. However, please see our Sustainability Report for more information on recent and planned expenditures to reduce emissions.