South Carolina Public Service Commission Rejects Duke Energy Plans

Ruling indicates momentum for renewable energy in the Carolinas

June 21, 2021
Contact: Amy Rawe, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected], Hilary Lewis, Vote Solar, [email protected], 202-455-0361

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a major victory for clean energy and South Carolina ratepayers, the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) voted Thursday to send Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) back to the company for revision.

Every two years, Duke Energy releases IRPs, which outline its guiding energy resource roadmap for the next fifteen years. A broad coalition of clean energy advocates across the Carolinas worked to engage the public in the energy planning process.

Now, Duke Energy must modify its plans to meet the criteria outlined by the PSC and re-submit them for consideration.

Members of the coalition commented:

“Advocacy, organizing, and persistence from our coalition partners and their members helped make this win possible,” says John Brooker, Energy Project Manager, Conservation Voters of South Carolina. “This is an illustration of what’s possible when passionate people come together and push for necessary change. We’re so proud to have played a role in this incredible victory and thankful to every member of the public who made their voice heard.”

“We look forward to reviewing Duke’s revised plans and are hopeful that they will put low-cost, renewable energy at the forefront. It’s clear the people of South Carolina are ready for a clean energy future, and this ruling brings us one step closer,” said Will Harlan, senior representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in the Carolinas.

“The Public Service Commission used tools provided by the Legislature through the Energy Freedom Act to protect customers,” says Maggie Shober, Director of Utility Reform, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We are encouraged by the decision, and will continue to work with the Commission and Duke to prioritize customer bills and an equitable transition to clean energy.”

“Duke Energy’s plans failed to serve the people of South Carolina,” says Tyler Fitch, Vote Solar’s regulatory director for the Southeast. “It was clear that the company failed to consider the impacts of a changing climate, and its own commitment to a zero-carbon energy system by 2050. By ignoring these considerations, Duke’s plans would hurt their own bottom line and their ratepayers’ wallets. We’re grateful that the Public Service Commission recognized the plans’ inadequacies and put the best interests of the public first.”

“Duke’s IRP calls for a massive buildout of fracked gas power plants at a time when President Biden is calling for decarbonization of the electricity sector by 2035 and a Duke University-led UN report says we simply must stop building gas-fired power plants if we hope to keep global warming to a safe level,” says Sally Robertson, Policy Coordinator, NC WARN. “We are grateful to the PSC for recognizing that Duke must do better — much better — to meet our climate challenge.”