INDIANAPOLIS – Duke Energy wants to force its Indiana customers to pay for a business-as-usual plan that continues to rely almost exclusively on dirty and expensive coal- and gas-fired power plants, ignoring the enormous potential of clean, safe, efficient and affordable renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Last week, Duke unveiled its latest proposed Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, which electric utilities are required to submit to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission every three years. IRPs are supposed to show how the utility plans to deliver “safe, reliable, and efficient electricity at just and reasonable rates.”
But Duke’s plan misses the mark, failing to deliver on any of those criteria. Its proposal includes:
- Little or no new investment in energy efficiency between this year and 2037.
- No investments in solar or wind capacity before 2023.
- Little or no investment in renewable energy battery storage over the entire 20-year planning period.
- Delay in the closure of money-losing coal-fired power plants and replacement of those that are eventually shuttered with gas-fired power plants, which are a threat to public health and which worsen the climate crisis.
- The erroneous claim that its coal plants are both efficient and low cost, even though Duke has admitted that the energy from those plants is more expensive than energy bought on the competitive wholesale market.
“Duke’s plan is exceptionally disappointing,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana. “We hoped Duke would join the many utilities across the country, including Northern Indiana Public Service Company, which recognize the economic realities of today’s energy marketplace and are embracing a transition to affordable and clean energy. Duke’s plan completely ignores the climate emergency and does little to nothing in addressing the crisis of affordability that saddle Hoosier ratepayers. What a shame.”
“Clearly, Duke has lost touch with the outside world,” said EWG’s senior energy policy advisor Grant Smith. “It’s as if the company operated in a vacuum for the past decade, ignoring the explosion in wind and solar investment by many other utilities. Duke’s preferred business plan for the next 20 years merely paves the way for higher costs and more pollution.”
Last month, EWG, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, NC WARN and Ohio Citizen Action released the report of a year-long investigation documenting how Duke is “Public Energy Enemy No. 1” among big electric utilities in the U.S. The investigation cited Duke’s efforts to undermine customers’ ability to use renewable sources of energy to power their homes and its heavily reliance on coal and natural gas in Indiana, Ohio and the Carolinas.
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.
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana has advocated for four decades on behalf of Hoosiers on issues regarding energy policy, utility reform, health care, pollution prevention, and family farms. CAC’s activities include performing research, carrying out public education campaigns, organizing citizens, creating public awareness, lobbying legislators, intervening in utility cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and litigating when necessary.