Duke Energy’s CEO says his company’s plans to build new solar panels on its coal-fired power plants are in line with its commitment to keep its grid intact.
In a statement released Friday, Duke CEO Richard Pate says the company will “double the amount of power produced in the state of North Carolina to meet the increasing demand for energy and provide clean energy to residents, businesses and the broader community.”
Pate also says the solar panels will be installed on Duke’s existing coal-burning power plants and will be able to generate more than 20 percent of the power that would be produced from those plants over the next 10 years.
Duke says it plans to continue to deploy coal-generated power throughout the state, including its Kemper plant in Durham.
Pate will be in North Carolina this weekend to attend a solar panel-generation event hosted by the National Energy Board, and the company has announced it will be sending the solar panel installation program to the state’s energy commission for review.
The NERC is expected to issue its final recommendations on Duke Energy next month.
The company’s announcement comes at a time when the nation’s biggest utility, Duke Power, is in talks with states and municipalities to raise energy efficiency standards for new power plants, but the Duke Energy announcement is notable for its focus on renewables.
The utility has already invested $500 million in renewable energy, including $300 million in the Kemper power plant in North Carolin.
Duke Energy has also recently expanded its coal production, announcing it will invest $1 billion in coal-to-hydroelectric power plants this year and $2.2 billion in wind power projects in 2018.
The Duke Energy statement also says Duke has committed to maintaining its commitment, which is one of the most stringent in the nation.
Patedge Duke Energy spokesperson Erin McPherson said the company believes in the “essential role of the grid” and that its goal is to meet demand and provide reliable electricity to the public.
“Duke Energy continues to be committed to building our coal- and gas-fired electric generating plants to meet and exceed the nation and its residents’ energy needs,” McPhersson said in the statement.
“We will continue to support renewable energy initiatives, including the purchase of large-scale solar power and the development of new renewable power projects.”