08 Jun 2023

Duke Energy Hikes Five-Year Capital Plan to $65 Bln, Focus on Low Carbon Energy

08 Jun 2023  by reuters   

The US flag flies at half mast in front of a coal-fired power plant's cooling tower at Duke Energy's Crystal River Energy Complex in Crystal River, Florida, U.S., March 26, 2021. Picture taken March 26, 2021. REUTERS/Dane Rhys/File Photo
Duke Energy (DUK.N) has boosted its five-year capital plan to $65 billion, with about 80% aimed at low-carbon energy, company executives said on a call on Thursday.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke increased its spending proposal through 2027 by $2 billion from its prior five-year plan, the company said while reporting its most recent financial earnings to investors.

One of the largest U.S. energy companies, Duke expects to spend about 55% on the power grid with much of the rest funneled toward renewable electricity generation, as the company shifts to a low-carbon energy network.

Duke's power and gas utilities serve more than 8 million businesses and homes in the Carolinas, parts of Florida and the Midwest, and it owns about 50,000 megawatts (MW) of energy capacity.

Large U.S. electric utilities are broadly moving from fossil fuel-powered generation to cleaner sources like wind and solar to meet climate goals, and requiring hefty capital spending to integrate the new power systems.

As part of Duke's plan, investments will largely be focused on transmission and distribution, company Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good told investors.

"As we get deeper into the plan, more generation investment begins to show up," Good said.

In its North Carolina utility operation, Duke plans to exit coal by 2035, and replace it with low-or-no carbon alternatives, executives told investors.

The company is looking to have 3,100 MW of new solar in service by 2028, and 1,600 MW of battery storage up and running by 2029.

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