Study: Promises from Duke and Other Utilities to Reduce Electricity Emissions by One-Third |
The company is also committed to achieving zero net methane emissions from its natural gas facilities by 2030, he added.
Galick noted that the companies’ commitments are not binding and that the federal government has not issued comprehensive requirements for greenhouse gas emissions by power producers.
“The biggest variable here will be whether the utilities are actually achieving their promised goals,” said Galik. “But because climate change is such a pressing concern, it is always important to understand the potential impact of these commitments, especially to inform future policy decisions at the federal level. In other words, if you want to develop policies to really get things done, you have to know where things can already be headed. “
Duke’s Norton rebuffed critics who pointed to Duke’s plans to expand its natural gas operations as a sign the company is not committed to meeting its emissions commitment.
“Critical groups don’t have the responsibility that we do to keep the lights on affordable and they minimize the complexity of the challenge,” he said. “To phase out coal faster and to offset the strong growth in weather-dependent renewables, cleaner-burning natural gas will be needed. “
Installing hydrogen-compatible natural gas units is one way for Duke to meet short-term needs and long-term goals, Norton added.