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Duke Energy forges partnerships with tech giants for clean energy projects in the Carolinas

Columbia, South Carolina – Duke Energy has made deals with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor to speed up clean energy projects in South Carolina and North Carolina. They’ve created a new rate plan to make this happen. This month, Duke signed agreements that include the Accelerating Clean Energy (ACE) tariffs. These tariffs aim to balance out the long-term expenses of new clean energy tech, like nuclear power and energy storage, by getting early commitments. Duke shared this news at the White House Summit on Domestic Nuclear Deployment this week, where the focus was on boosting the U.S. nuclear industry.

“In this new era of large-scale energy demand, Duke Energy is committed to working with our regulators and customers to find innovative and responsible ways to satisfy the growing need for more and cleaner energy,” said Lon Huber, Duke Energy’s senior vice president for pricing and customer solutions. “With the help of companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor, we can accelerate our service of large customer needs and the transition to cleaner energy, while reducing financial risks and supporting economic development in our communities.”

Duke is proposing new rate structures, called Clean Transition Tariffs (CTT), which are inspired by current tariffs in the utility sector. These tariffs would offer a mix of new, carbon-free energy options specifically tailored for commercial and industrial customers. The CTT aims to match clean energy production with the energy needs of these customers to help speed up the process of reducing carbon emissions in large businesses. Additionally, the plan includes measures to protect customers who do not participate in this program.

Duke’s proposed ACE tariffs are designed to support on-site power generation at customer sites, encourage participation in programs that allow for more flexible energy usage, and promote investments in clean energy technologies. Duke Energy will maintain its current five-year capital spending plan, but these new tariffs will need the green light from regulatory bodies in North Carolina and South Carolina before they can be implemented.

Read also: Duke Energy Carolinas agrees to lower rate hike in South Carolina settlement

There is also a growing concern about the increasing energy demands from data centers and artificial intelligence operations, led by major companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. This surge in demand is starting to put significant pressure on the electrical grid. According to a recent study by the Electric Power Research Institute, by 2030, data centers could be using up to 9 percent of all the power produced in the U.S., which is more than twice what they use now. This could lead to power supply problems in some regions.

“Amazon is committed to enabling new sources of carbon-free energy to help power our operations and the communities where our customers live and work,” said Kevin Miller, Amazon Web Services’ vice president of global data centers. “With a footprint of data centers, fulfillment centers, and corporate buildings across Ohio, the Carolinas, and Florida, we’re excited to collaborate with Duke Energy to find new solutions that can help us achieve our climate pledge to be net zero carbon by 2040.”

Duke Energy has made deals with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor to speed up clean energy projects in South Carolina and North Carolina
Credit: Unsplash

“As we continue to progress toward our goal to operate every Google campus on clean electricity every hour of every day by 2030, we are always looking for opportunities to accelerate the delivery of new clean power to the grid,” said Google’s head of energy market innovation Briana Kabor.

“Microsoft’s aim is to advance groundbreaking solutions that support the energy transition. Innovative frameworks such as this agreement with Duke Energy support Microsoft’s ambition to have 100 percent of our electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases,” said Jeff Riles, Microsoft’s director of data center energy and sustainability.

Duke Energy has made deals with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor to speed up clean energy projects in South Carolina and North Carolina
Credit: Unsplash

Read also: SC Rural Infrastructure Authority announces $25 million in grants for community development

Greg Murphy, Nucor’s executive vice president of business services, said, “Nucor is one of the cleanest and most sustainable steel producers in the world and has proudly operated in the Carolinas since the 1960s. We are excited to see our partnership with Duke Energy evolve through this shared commitment to bring the next generation of clean, reliable, safe, and affordable energy to our region while also supporting our net zero goal,” said Greg Murphy, Nucor’s executive vice president of business services.

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