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Date: 2022-07-03 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00017102

Energy / Electic Power
Coal for Electricity Generation

Study: Nearly 90% of Duke Energy's Coal Fleet Likely Unprofitable

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
Study: Nearly 90% of Duke Energy's Coal Fleet Likely Unprofitable


The last coal train delivery to Duke Energy's Lake Julian plant near Asheville, N.C. arrived on July 15, but Duke still plans to keep burning coal as part of its power generation until 2048. A new study shows that nearly 90 percent of Duke's coal fleet is unprofitable and is making the climate crisis worse by clinging to fossil fuels. Duke Energy's Coal-Fired Power Plant in Asheville, NC (Sierra Club Archive)

Duke Energy’s continued reliance on coal-burning power plants is a bad business decision for the utility and likely an increasingly high-risk option for investors, according to an analysis by an independent financial think tank that follows the energy industry.

Carbon Tracker studies the impact of the global energy transition on capital markets, and investments in high-cost, carbon-intensive fossil fuels. Its analysts say coal is responsible for about 80% of all carbon emissions from power generation, and they map the risks, opportunities, and routes toward a low-carbon future. They say utilities that don’t reassess their reliance on fossil fuels are exposing their owners—the shareholders—to potential lost value.

Carbon tracker analysts identified serious economic concerns with Duke Energy Corporation’s coal fleet, which represents 29% of its total operating capacity. They looked at Duke’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization or “EBITDA,” a measure of profitability. They found that 89% of Duke’s coal fleet may have a negative EBITDA today, and anticipate that 96% could have a negative EBITDA by 2030.

Further, Carbon Tracker’s analysis shows it would be cheaper for Duke to build new utility-scale solar or onshore wind than to operate existing coal plants today. In fact, renewable energy technologies are now the cheapest form of new electricity generation across most of the world—cheaper than both coal and gas.

In addition, Duke is failing to address its critical role in the climate crisis: The utility is not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, a global action plan to avoid worsening the impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

Duke, the country’s largest electric utility, is the biggest carbon emitter in the United States. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the main driver of the climate crisis, and the overload in our atmosphere is caused mainly by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas and by cutting down and burning forests.

Meanwhile, Duke continues to seek ways to raise customers’ rates, not only to clean up the toxic waste created by continuing to burn dirty coal and build out a costly, unnecessary fracked gas infrastructure but also to deal with the impacts of the very climate disruption to which Duke is a major contributor.

In a filing last year, Duke said, “unprecedented costs to respond to Hurricanes Florence and Michael and Winter Storm Diego will have a corresponding rate impact on customers.”

The climate crisis has led to stronger hurricanes, more severe flooding, life-threatening heat waves and longer wildfire seasons. And climate change doesn’t affect everyone equally: low-income communities, elderly people and communities of color often suffer most. These communities already suffer higher rates of many health conditions such as asthma and heart disease, are more exposed to environmental pollution, and take longer to recover from natural disasters.

To fight climate change and become Paris-aligned, Carbon Tracker analysts say Duke should provide a coal unit retirement schedule that is consistent with a credible climate scenario and assign a retirement date for each of its coal units.

Duke Energy has a responsibility to its shareholders and to the 7.2 million customers it serves to carefully analyze its resource planning and take full advantage of the value of renewables as it charts how to generate electricity over the next several decades.

It’s a bad bet for Duke’s bottom line—and a dangerous bet for the health of our communities—to keep burning fossil fuels. Duke Energy can, and must, transition rapidly to a 100% clean, renewable electricity system that’s safe for families and children and helps everyone pay less on their bills.

Melissa Williams is a senior press secretary for the southeast region with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. See more stories by this author

David Rogers is the southeast deputy regional director for the Beyond Coal campaign See more stories by this author
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Jigar Shah Jigar Shah • 1st LinkedIn Top Energy Voice | 2018 - Co-Founder at Generate Capital Inc 19h “Carbon Tracker’s analysis shows it would be cheaper for Duke to build new utility-scale #solar or onshore #wind than to operate existing #coal plants today. In fact, renewable energy technologies are now the cheapest form of new electricity generation across most of the world—cheaper than both coal and #gas.” No alt text provided for this image Study: Nearly 90% of Duke Energy's Coal Fleet Likely Unprofitable sierraclub.org 103 12 Comments Like Comment Share Top Comments 11h Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng) Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng) 2nd degree connection2nd Managing Director at Valdez Engineers & Inspectors To produce solar energy we need reliable Sun light . To produce wind energy reliable wind velocity. This is a major challenge that the writer doesn't address. The writer of this article is in the business to generate profit from selling investment in renewable energy. What the writer doesn't tell you is: 1) That renewable energy require infrastructure, and equipment used to generate / process solar and wind have a short lifecycle 2) Renewable energy wages are 50% less than those in Clean Natural Gas . Writer is only concerned about KWH production cost without considering huge wage loses , taxes paid by Oil & Gas Producers. 3) National US GDP will shrink by at least 8%-13% causing economical hardship on Americans. Another issue the writer ignores. 4) Another issue is that Russia and China has the ability to disrupt solar energy by creating artificial clouds to shield the sun . 5) Writer didn't address environmental issues in disposing worn out dysfunctional sun panels. Wind panels have been ascociated in disrupting and disorienting migrating birds , and many bird species are being killed by rotating blades. Like Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment · 1 Reply 1 Comment on Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment 10h Martin Baker Martin Baker 2nd degree connection2nd Immersive installation artist, software consultant, climate activist It's hard to admit your industry is dying, isn't it, Joe? Like Martin Baker’s comment 18h Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng) Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng) 2nd degree connection2nd Managing Director at Valdez Engineers & Inspectors Nat gas is cheaper, and clean . All this is funded by the radical Sierra Club, and supported by George Soros, and foolish New York Communist Bartender turned environmentalist turned ' Congresswoman Alexandra Occasio Cortez . This is all about Propaganda by radical socialists. In the USA we have the largest and cheapest natural gas deposits. Generating over 4 million direct well paying jobs over $120,000/ yr and another 15 Million indirect well paying jobs . Plus we pay over 1 trillion in taxes . Solar jobs here in the USA pay $12-$13 per hr. Hussein Obama gave Solyndra over $800 M USD to help the USA transition to solar. Socialist Democrat run Solyndra went bankrupt , and we American Tax Payer were ripped off. HELL NO TO COMMUNIST CROOKED CURRENCY TRADER GEORGE SOROS PARIS ACCORD . USA #1. Let Socialist EU Nations and Canada's socialist Trudeau run with it. (edited) Like Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment · 1 Like 1 Like on Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment · 3 Replies 3 Replies on Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment Load previous replies Load previous replies on Joe Valdez Ptech(Eng)’s comment 16h Kevin Cameron Kevin Cameron 2nd degree connection2nd Consultant at Cameron EDA Ha ha - The Sierra Club 'radical'? There are no 'radical' socialists in the USA, they would be considered lefty-moderates almost anywhere else in the world. Solyndra was run by capitalists, and the government fund behind it made money overall. Like Kevin Cameron’s comment 15h Arne Hessenbruch Arne Hessenbruch 2nd degree connection2nd Finding the right people to talk to How about taking apart Carbon Tracker's argument for us? Can you do that? Like Arne Hessenbruch’s comment 16h Jeff Tomlinson Jeff Tomlinson 2nd degree connection2nd Looking to connect with startup energy executives I would love to see the underlying analysis that supports this conclusion Like Jeff Tomlinson’s comment · 1 Reply 1 Comment on Jeff Tomlinson’s comment 10h Martin Baker Martin Baker 2nd degree connection2nd Immersive installation artist, software consultant, climate activist Start by going to https://companyprofiles.carbontracker.org/ , selecting Duke from the dropdown, and scrolling about halfway down; there's a reference to 'Cost* of operating coal units versus building new renewables' Like Martin Baker’s comment 8h Sankaran Subramaniam Sankaran Subramaniam 2nd degree connection2nd Asset Management strategy for Renewables ,mainstream assets, specialised situations. Currently at Melbourne, Australia i guess Duke is not the only one . Europe has quite a few . There are no buyers. The Asian asset owners are getting more sophisticated . They dont need the cash flows of such unprofitable European and American companies anymore. The Asian companies are the largest investors in the Renewable space. And their governments are taking note and supporting with sensible policies. No regrets if the Dukes of this world are forgotten. Like Sankaran Subramaniam’s comment 6h Manmohan Singh Manmohan Singh 2nd degree connection2nd MANAGER -Design & Engineering Utility projects, Asia Pacific at UPC Renewables India For LCOE coal based power should be compaire with renewable energy ESS as thermal has 24 hrs generation.In this situation coal is still cheaper and has less capax involved. Like Manmohan Singh’s comment 11h Dan Neufeld Dan Neufeld 2nd degree connection2nd Advising Company Owners on Beginning and Growing International Business 😀 Like Dan Neufeld’s comment 15h Gunther Sonnenfeld Gunther Sonnenfeld 2nd degree connection2nd Cryptoeconomist * Ecologist * Impact Investor ::: Builder of good things for a better world cc: Joshua B. Steiger Ed Prado Like Gunther Sonnenfeld’s comment
By Melissa Williams and David Rogers
July 31, 2019
The text being discussed is available at
https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2019/07/study-nearly-90-duke-energys-coal-fleet-likely-unprofitable
and
'http://truevaluemetrics.org/DBpdfs/Energy/Emissions/Benchmarking-Air-Emissions-2019.pdf'
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