If Duke Energy avoids natural gas capacity additions and adds renewable energy and energy storage under a proposed North Carolina law, the utility could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 74% over the next decade, according to a study.
Economists at The Brattle Group prepared the study, A Pathway to Decarbonization: Generation Cost & Emissions Impact of Proposed NC Energy Legislation, for North Carolina renewable energy developer Cypress Creek Renewables. The study tracks the potential impact of the proposed House Bill 951, which passed in the North Carolina House of Representatives in July.
“With the continued decline of solar and battery storage costs, Duke Energy and other utilities across the US will be able to replace retiring coal plants with a mix of renewable energy and battery storage resources in a cost-effective way and achieve greater reductions in GHG emissions,” Michael Hagerty, a co-author of the study, said.
The authors ran simulations for resource additions under Duke’s 2020 IRP Base Case with Carbon Policy and a policy case scenario based on H951 mandates, with the condition of no new gas capacity built by Duke Energy.
By meeting the mandates of H951 and limiting new gas generation capacity, Duke Energy would add 18,000 MW of solar, 3,000 MW of onshore wind, and 3,600 MW of battery storage, according to the authors.
Combined greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Duke Energy system would decrease to 20.4 MMT in 2030, a 74% reduction from 2005 levels.
Brattle Group economists concluded that the policy case scenario (Duke Energy meeting H591 mandates + no new gas) would produce $590 million in generations savings by 2030, as well.
“Brattle’s study provides compelling evidence that our region can achieve ambitious decarbonization targets by 2030 at minimal ratepayer cost through the large-scale deployment of renewables and storage, especially through proven programs like North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy (CPRE),” said Tyler Norris, senior development director at Cypress Creek Renewables.
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