Duke Energy Corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is an electric power holding company in the United States, with assets also in Canada and Latin America.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duke Energy owns 58,200 megawatts of base-load and peak generation in the United States, which it distributes to its 7.2 million customers. Duke Energy’s service territory covers 104,000 square miles (270,000 km2) with 250,200 miles (402,700 km) of distribution lines. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,300 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America.It operates eight hydroelectric power plants in Brazil with an installed capacity of 2,307 megawatts. Almost all of Duke Energy’s Midwest generation comes from coal, natural gas, or oil, while half of its Carolinas generation comes from its nuclear power plants. During 2006, Duke Energy generated 148,798,332 megawatt-hours of electrical energy.
Duke Energy Renewable Services (DERS), a subsidiary of Duke Energy, specializes in the development, ownership, and operation of various generation facilities throughout the United States. This segment of the company operates 1,700 megawatts of generation. 240 megawatts of wind generation were under construction and 1,500 additional megawatts of wind generation were in planning stages. On September 9, 2008, DERS updated its projections for future wind power capacity. By the end of 2008, it would have over 500 MW of nameplate capacity of wind power online, and an additional 5,000 MW in development.
Duke Energy Carolinas
Duke Energy Ohio (formerly Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company, via Cinergy)
Duke Energy Kentucky (formerly Union Light, Heat & Power, via Cinergy)
Duke Energy Indiana
Duke Energy Florida (formerly Florida Power Company, via Progress Energy)
Duke Energy Progress (formerly Carolina Power and Light, via Progress Energy)
Duke Energy Renewables
Duke Energy Retail
Duke Energy International
The company began in 1900 as the Catawba Power Company when Dr. Walker Gill and his brother financed the building of a hydroelectric power station at India Hook Shoals along the Catawba River near India Hook, South Carolina. In need of additional funding to further his ambitious plan for construction of a series of hydroelectric power plants, Wylie convinced James Buchanan Duke to invest in the Southern Power Company, founded in 1905.
In 1917 the Wateree Power Company was formed as a holding company for several utilities that had been founded and/or owned by Duke, his family, or his associates, and in 1924 the name was changed to Duke Power. In 1927, most of the subsidiary companies, including Southern Power Company, Catawba Power Company, Great Falls Power Company, and Western Carolina Power Company were merged into Duke Power, although Southern Public Utilities, 100% owned by Duke Power, maintained a legally separate existence for the retail marketing of Duke-generated power to residential and commercial customers.
A 1973 labor dispute between mine workers and Duke Power was the subject of the documentary Harlan County, USA. The film documents the use of “gun thugs” to intimidate striking workers.
In 1988, Nantahala Power & Light Co., which served southwestern North Carolina, was purchased by Duke and is now operated under the Duke Power Nantahala Area brand. Duke Power merged with PanEnergy, a natural gas company, in 1997 to form Duke Energy. The Duke Power name continued as the el
With the purchase of Cinergy Corporation announced in 2005 and completed on April 3, 2006, Duke Energy Corporation’s customer base grew to include the Midwestern United States as well. The company operates nuclear power plants, coal-fired plants, conventional hydroelectric plants, natural-gas turbines to handle peak demand, and pumped hydro storage. During 2006, Duke Energy also acquired Chatham, Ontario-based Union Gas, which is regulated under the Ontario Energy Board Act (1998).
On January 3, 2007, Duke Energy spun off its gas business to form Spectra Energy. Duke Energy shareholders received 1 share of Spectra Energy for each 2 shares of Duke Energy. After the spin-off, Duke Energy now receives the majority of its revenue from its electric operations in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. The spinoff to Spectra also included Union Gas, which Duke Energy acquired the previous year.
In 2011, Duke Energy worked with Charlotte’s business leader community to help build Charlotte into a smart city. The group called the initiative “Envision Charlotte.” At the time, the group decided on a goal to reduce energy use in the “urban core of the city by 20 percent.” To do so, the group focused on making energy consumption changes to commercial buildings larger than 10,000 square feet.
On July 3, 2012, Duke Energy merged with Progress Energy Inc with the Duke Energy name being retained along with the Charlotte, North Carolina headquarters.
Duke announced on June 18, 2013 that CEO Jim Rogers was retiring and Lynn Good would become the new CEO. Rogers has been CEO and Chairman since 2006, while Good was Chief Financial Officer of Duke since 2009, having joined Duke in the 2006 Cinergy merger. Rogers’ retirement was part of an agreement to end an investigation into Duke’s Progress Energy acquisition in 2012.
The company expects to spend $13 billion upgrading the North Carolina grid from 2017.
New nuclear power plant
William States Lee III Nuclear Generating Station
On March 16, 2006, Duke Power announced that a Cherokee County, South Carolina site had been selected for a potential new nuclear power plant. The site is jointly owned by Duke Power and Southern Company. Duke plans to develop the site for two Westinghouse Electric Company AP1000 (advanced passive) pressurized water reactors. Each reactor is capable of producing approximately 1,117 megawatts. (See Nuclear Power 2010 Program.)
On December 14, 2007, Duke Power submitted a Combined Construction and Operating License to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with an announcement that it will spend $160 million in 2008 on the plant with a total cost of $5 billion to $6 billion. The plant was approved in 2016.
In August 2017, Duke decided to seek permission from the North Carolina Utility Commission to cancel the project due to the bankruptcy of Westinghouse and “other market activity”, although they will retain the option of restarting the project at some point in the future if circumstances change.
This site would have been adjacent to the old site, which was never completed and abandoned in the early 1980s, and used by James Cameron as a film set for the 1989 movie The Abyss.
In 2018, Duke Energy decided not to include new nuclear power in its long-range plans.
In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency commenced an enforcement action against Duke Energy for making modifications to very old and deteriorating coal-burning power plants without getting permits under the Clean Air Act. Duke asserted that a “modification” under the Clean Air Act did not require a permit. Environmental groups asserted that Duke was using loopholes in the law to increase emissions. Initially, Duke prevailed at the trial court level, but in 2006 the case was argued before the Supreme Court (Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp. (05-848)). The Court unanimously ruled on April 2, 2007 that the modifications allowed the power plants to operate for more hours, increasing emissions, so Clean Air Act permits were needed.
In 2002, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst identified Duke Energy as the 46th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 36 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air. Major pollutants included sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, chromium compounds, and hydrogen fluoride. The Political Economy Research Institute ranks Duke Energy 13th among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. The ranking is based on the quantity (80 million pounds in 2005) and toxicity of the emissions. This change reflects the purchase of fossil fuel-heavy Cinergy, which occurred in 2005.
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In early 2008, Duke Energy announced a plan to build the new, 800-megawatt Cliffside Unit 6 coal plant 55 miles (89 km) west of Charlotte, North Carolina. The plan has been strongly opposed by environmental groups such as Rising Tide North America, Rainforest Action Network, the community-based Canary Coalition as well as the Southern Environmental Law Center, which has threatened to sue Duke if it does not halt construction plans. On April 1, activists locked themselves to machinery at the Cliffside construction area as part of Fossil Fools Day.
Duke Energy has been “one of the most vocal advocates” for a “cap-and-trade” system to combat global CO2 emissions, “and the company’s CEO, Jim Rogers, thinks the company will profit from cap-and-trade”. The company left the National Association of Manufacturers in part over differences on climate policy.