Duke Energy now owns, operates, or purchases more than 10,000 MW of solar and wind energy throughout the United States, following the commercial operation of the company’s Pflugerville Solar project.
While this is certainly a historic milestone, Duke still has a lot of work to do if the company wants to reach its renewable energy and emission reduction goals. Renewables currently make up about 8% of Duke’s electrical output, natural gas accounts for 42%, coal for 33%, and nuclear for 17%. By 2030, Duke plans for its generation mix to include 23% renewables, 30% nuclear, 38% natural gas, and 9% coal. This all comes in spite of the fact that Duke has goals of reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and going carbon neutral in 2050.
New renewable resources will be developed to replace the generation lost by the 1,922 MW of coal capacity the utility plans to retire by the end of 2025. While Duke will have retired more than 8,400 MW of coal in total by 2025, that only represents about a third of the utility’s coal fleet; some plants are scheduled to stay active until 2048.
The Pflugerville Solar project is a 144 MW installation located in Travis County, Texas that Duke acquired from Recurrent Energy in January of this year. The plant is comprised of approximately 489,600 pieces of Canadian Solar’s high-efficiency bifacial BiKu modules, spread out across 932 acres. The engineering and construction of the project was performed by Signal Energy.
The energy generated from the Pflugerville Solar project will be sold to Austin Energy under a 15-year power purchase agreement. Pflugerville also represents Duke Energy’s sixth solar installation in Texas, with the seventh set to come some time in 2022, as Duke advances construction on the 250-MW Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas.
Duke’s 10 GW of wind and solar capacity includes nearly 200 sites in 22 states, with over 1,000 megawatts of new projects under construction throughout the country, including Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas.
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