In 2021, SECC will be recognizing a member each month, providing an organizational profile and highlighting the member's accomplishments in the smart energy space.
Duke Energy is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.
Duke Energy is engineering a cleaner, more resilient energy future for customers and transforming its energy infrastructure to ready it for new energy opportunities. With major grid improvement initiatives in each of the six states it serves, the company is focused on strengthening the power grid to improve reliability and resiliency and enable the growth of clean energy technologies and a lower carbon future.
With significant coastal exposure in multiple states in the Southeast, as well as a Midwest service area that regularly sees winter and high wind events, Duke Energy is no stranger to extreme weather. That’s why the company is making significant resiliency improvements to reduce outages and restore power faster when storms and outages occur.
Using advanced data analytics, system planners can identify specific locations – even down to spans of wire – where grid improvements are needed. This information, further informed by extensive stakeholder engagement, has helped Duke Energy build a strategy to identify grid improvements that maximize benefits to communities, while keeping costs affordable for customers.
Through this multi-year grid improvement initiative, the company is upgrading utility poles and lines, placing outage-prone lines underground, protecting essential systems from threats like flooding and animal interference, strengthening the grid against physical and cyber threats, and adding smart technologies that can monitor the health of key systems and better manage the grid to make it more efficient and resilient when interruptions occur.
Duke Energy is also adding smart, self-healing technology that can automatically detect outages on main power lines and quickly reroute power to restore service faster. This smart technology can reduce the number of customers impacted by an outage by as much as 75 percent and can often restore power in less than a minute.
In 2020, self-healing technologies helped avoid more than 800,000 extended outages across the six states Duke Energy serves, saving customers more than 1.8 million hours of total outage time. The company hopes to serve most customers with self-healing capabilities over the next few years, giving crews a powerful tool to help reduce outage times and impacts.
Duke Energy is building upon a resilient foundation and transforming the electric grid to help enable the sustainable growth of renewables, as well as distributed technologies like battery storage and electric vehicles. Smart-thinking grid technology is being installed across the company’s service areas, incorporating an advanced network of sensors, switches and control technologies that support the two-way power flow needed to expand cleaner energy options.
This transformation is helping the company meet its goal to attain net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Duke Energy is also a national leader in renewable energy with more than 10,000 megawatts of solar and wind energy owned or purchased by Duke Energy in its regulated and commercial businesses. The company continues progressing towards a target of 16,000 megawatts of renewables by 2025.
A smarter grid will also help to power a cleaner transportation future. The company announced a new goal in September 2020 to convert 100 percent of its light-duty vehicles to electric and 50 percent of its combined fleet of medium-duty, heavy-duty and off-road vehicles to EVs, plug-in hybrids or other zero-carbon alternatives by 2030.
A smarter energy future begins with improving the energy infrastructure that serves customers and communities. Duke Energy is committed to enabling a cleaner, more resilient future and to serving customers better every day.