Duke Energy Carolinas, which provides roughly 20,000 megawatts of electricity to approximately 2.4 million customers throughout the Carolinas through a mix of nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric power generation, announced on Friday the addition of a “Green Source Rider” that will offer its large customers an opportunity to purchase renewable energy, apparently in response to requests from some of said large customers.
Duke says the Green Source Rider is an experimental program designed to give energy-intensive customers, such as manufacturers, data centers, college campuses and big-box retailers, the option of offsetting some or all of their energy consumption from new load — such as a new or expanded facility — with renewable energy.
In response to Duke’s announcement, Greenpeace released the following statement from Climate and Energy Campaigner Robert Gardner:
“The Green Source program could represent a breakthrough in the transition that Duke Energy must make from its current polluting coal, gas and nuclear power plants to the clean energy that is driving economic growth in North Carolina.
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“Some of Duke Energy’s biggest customers, including Google, Apple, Facebook and the University of North Carolina system, deserve praise for understanding that wind and solar power are good business, and pushing Duke Energy to provide those options. They asked, and Duke is starting to listen. Unfortunately, Duke is still turning a deaf ear to its tens of thousands of residential and small business customers in North Carolina who have similarly asked for clean energy choices.
“Just one month ago, Duke told North Carolina regulators that even in 15 years, less than 3% of the electricity it sells in the state will be renewable. Duke should start listening to all of its customers, and that means a rapid shift in investments toward the sources of clean energy that represents North Carolina’s future, not more of the coal, gas and nuclear energy of the past.”
Duke’s announcement could represent two steps forward in the race to expand renewable energy this week ... just as the EPA rethinking its Renewable Fuel Standard could be seen as one step back. Meanwhile, Washington is attempting to make headway of its own; on October 31, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation that aims for generating 25 percent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources while reducing energy waste by 15 percent by 2025. The legislation was the second renewable energy bill introduced in the Senate that week.