Nuclear’s role in a cleaner energy future

You may have heard about the Duke Energy Sustainability Report. But, if you haven’t seen the 2016 report yet, it’s worth a read. The report tracks the company’s progress on sustainability goals and programs and offers a look at how the company is progressing toward those goals.

Arguably one of the most important goals is Duke Energy’s commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from the 2005 levels by 2030. This decade alone, a combination of closing coal-fired power plants, building cleaner natural gas plants and increasing renewable generation have led the company to already be nearly 30 percent below that 2005 figure.

What may be less obvious is the role our nuclear plants play in our lower carbon commitment – and it’s a big one. Duke Energy generates about 38 percent of its electricity through carbon-free sources and nuclear currently accounts for most of the total.

In case you don’t have time to read all of the details, here are the nuclear highlights.

  • We’ve operated nuclear power plants since the early 1970s and our fleet keeps setting records.

  • Our fleet set a new capacity factor of 95.72 percent. 2016 was the 18th consecutive year our fleet had a 90-plus percent capacity factor.

  • The plants produced 90 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough to power 3,600 small towns for a year.

  • Our fleet accomplished all of this by having shorter refueling outages and longer operating runs. Our nuclear workers were very busy last year.

  • Overall, our nuclear plants accounted for one-third of the electricity Duke Energy generated in 2016.

  • And all of that electricity was produced carbon free. In fact, since 2005, our company has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 29 percent thanks in no small part to our nuclear plants.

You can explore the full Sustainability Report online.

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