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Utilities consumer advocate recommends Duke Energy meets NC emission goals by 2034

Duke Energy's Asheville gas plant opened in 2020 on the site of a former coal-fired plant. The utility wants to build more like it, even as it tries to cut carbon emissions.
David Boraks
/
WFAE
Duke Energy's Asheville gas plant opened in 2020 on the site of a former coal-fired plant. The utility wants to build more like it, even as it tries to cut carbon emissions.

Duke Energy has requested until 2035 to eliminate most of its state carbon emissions to meet a significant increase in future energy needs. North Carolina’s utility consumer advocate largely confirmed Monday Duke’s own forecast. But told state regulators that Duke should meet more aggressive carbon reduction goals through renewables, such as solar and battery infrastructure.

“Based on our investigation — we looked at many different interim compliance years, inputs, and modeling assumptions — we believe Duke should pursue interim compliance by 2034,” said Jeff Thomas, an engineer with the independent state agency known as the Public Staff.

This recommendation was among many presented to the North Carolina Utilities Commission Monday. Lawyers for consumer, businesses, and environmental interests gave their guidance for retiring coal plants, procuring offshore wind, and reducing future natural gas development.

State regulators plan to make a decision on the carbon plan by the end of the year.

Zachary Turner is a climate reporter and author of the WFAE Climate News newsletter. He freelanced for radio and digital print, reporting on environmental issues in North Carolina.
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