WASHINGTON – Duke Energy claims its growth of renewable energy sources “soared” in 2021, but the company generated just 5.4 percent of its electricity from wind and solar last year, according to a report the company released on Tuesday.
In the 2021 environment, social and governance, or ESG, report, Duke documents just how little renewable-generated electricity it delivered to its 7 million-plus captive customers throughout the six states where the nation’s biggest investor-owned monopoly utility operates.
Duke misleadingly claims it expanded its total renewable energy capacity by more than 20 percent last year. But wind and solar power generation across the entire company in 2021 was just over 5 percent, including throughout its monopoly territories in the Carolinas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, combined.
Duke’s record, from its own 2021 ESG report:
- Fracked gas: 36 percent
- Nuclear: 34.9 percent
- Coal: 22.3 percent
- Wind: 3.4 percent
- Solar: 2.0 percent
- Hydro: 1.3 percent
“The relentless greenwashing and deception at Duke Energy continue as usual,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The more than 7 million customers who are beholden to the monopoly utility to power their homes and businesses should be furious about Duke’s intolerable resistance to shedding its reliance to dirty and dangerous energy sources.”
The mix of electricity generation by Duke between 2020 and 2021 was largely unchanged, with the amount it produced from coal slightly higher last year than the year before, at 20.9 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively.
In 2020, electricity generated by wind and solar totaled 5.1 percent, and 5.4 percent in 2021, a paltry 0.3 percent increase in renewable generation throughout Duke’s entire system last year.
Duke has consistently been one of the worst laggards among the nation’s investor-owned utilities when it comes to embracing renewable sources of electricity across its base six-state service area. Yet wind and solar are important clean energy sources that we’ll need to grow significantly to fight the climate crisis.
Duke fights to crush residential solar in home state of North Carolina
Duke’s lack of progress away from fossil fuels comes as the utility pursues a proposal before the North Carolina Utilities Commission to hobble the state’s residential solar program.
Duke is asking the commission to impose a new monthly “net metering” bill on the power company’s rooftop solar customers. Those ratepayers held captive by Duke’s two monopoly utilities in the state, Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress, would have minimum bills of $22 and $28, respectively, under the plan.
At the same time, Duke is seeking to lower by roughly two-thirds the price the utilities must pay ratepayers for surplus power generated by rooftop solar.
“Duke Energy is trying to have it both ways in North Carolina, pretending its stunted wind and solar growth is actually soaring, while asking the state to price solar out of the market,” said Cook. “Ratepayers deserve better, cleaner, honest power.”
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.