Who is Duke?
Duke Energy is a massive electric utility company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They own dozens of coal-fired power plants around the country, most of which burn coal from the devastating method known as mountaintop removal mining. After the massive merger with Progress Energy in July 2012, Duke can now call itself the largest utility company in the nation-- and a nuclear giant as well as a coal giant.
Duke Energy has talked a lot about the need for action on climate change, and the company’s leadership seems to understand that they could drive that change. Duke CEO Jim Rogers said last year, “we’re in a unique position in the power industry to deploy the solutions, to raise the capital and not raise the national debt, to do it at scale, and to do it in China time."
Map of existing Duke coal plants
View Duke Energy Coal Plants in a larger map
But Talk is Cheap
Duke Energy says it wants to be a responsible, forward-looking company. Unfortunately, their reality doesn't match their rhetoric. Duke is building two giant new coal-fired power plants and plans to build new nuclear power plants. They continue to do business with coal companies like Alpha Natural Resources (formerly Massey Energy) who continue blowing the tops off pristine mountains in Central Appalachia. And they’re spending a tiny fraction of the billions they make from rate-payers on renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Unfortunately, the planned merger with Progress seems to only be leading them down more dead ends--more nuclear investment, more dirty biomass, and more massive coal-fired power plants. These companies continue to rely on coal plants that pollute the air, destroy the mountains, poison the water and kill the climate.
Duke should Be a Leader
Duke Energy could enact real solutions to save our climate and spare millions of lives affected by coal. The company should commit to leading the power industry by committing to:
- Not renew a single new contract for mountaintop removal coal
- Get coal out of their mix altogether by 2030
- Deliver at least a third of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020.