Duke Energy, which has 7.4 million electric customers, has acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion, a move that will accelerate Duke’s movement away from coal as the company positions itself for increasingly strict requirements under the government’s Clean Power Plan. Duke plans to expand Piedmont’s pipeline network to accommodate a shift from coal to natural gas in its generation operations.
The Clean Power Plan
The Clean Power Plan calls for a 28% decline in coal generation, and a commensurate increase in renewable sources, by 2030. Already, nationwide coal-based generation has declined from a 50% share in 2007 to 33% in 2016. As mentioned in another post, some industry pundits believe that an increasing reliance on renewables could negatively impact grid resiliency. Therefore, it’s something that utility emergency planning personnel must keep a close eye on. More research is needed in this area to be sure, and I think this will happen sooner rather than later. This research will be critical to determine the impact of clean energy initiatives on reliability. I’m sure there will be much more to come on this in the near future.
For more information on Duke’s acquisition, strategy, and the Clean Power Plan, I recommend perusing this Bloomberg article. Aside from that, keep your finger on the pulse of the push for renewables because somehow, some way, it will probably have an impact on emergency plans and processes.