Duke Energy ups clean power target by 33% to 8 GW by 2020

Duke Energy, the U.S. utility that ranks third in the nation for adding new solar projects for its customers, has increased its renewable energy target by 33% in light of recent growth and successes in the sector.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm will seek to reach 8 GW of installed clean power by 2030, up from a goal of 6 GW that was first established in 2013.

Of that target, solar PV is earmarked for a leading role, having already played a big part in Duke Energy’s penetration of renewables – at the end of 2015, solar PV accounted for 39% of Duke Energy’s 4.4 GW of clean energy, owned or purchased.

"Duke Energy is accelerating the pace of our renewable energy program, allowing us to increase our goal for wind, solar and biomass on our system," said the firm’s VP policy, sustainability and stakeholder strategist Cari Boyce. "Renewable energy will continue to be a growing part of our generation mix in the future."

According to the utility’s latest Sustainability Report, Duke Energy’s carbon emissions were 28% lower last year than a decade prior, with the amount of C02 released per kWh of electricity produced also 23% lower than in 2005.

A recent ranking of U.S. utilities by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) placed Duke Energy third nationwide in solar provisions, adding 461 MW of owned or purchased solar PV capacity in 2015.

"Customers want solar," said SEPA’s CEO and president Julia Hamm, "and their interest is driving change and innovation at utilities nationwide."