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Duke Energy (DUK) Arm Rolls Out GreenEdge in North Carolina

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Duke Energy’s (DUK - Free Report) subsidiary, Piedmont Natural Gas, recently launched GreenEdge, a self-funding carbon-reducing program, for its North Carolina customers. This takes Duke Energy one step ahead in reaching its target of enabling renewables to become the company’s largest source of energy by 2050, making up more than 40% of its generation capacity.

Details of the Program

The GreenEdge program will enable Piedmont Natural Gas’ residential and commercial customers to buy green blocks voluntarily from it, with each block at $3. Each of these green blocks represents the environmental attributes of renewable natural gas and carbon offsets and is equivalent to 12.5 therms of natural gas usage.

Hence, by purchasing these green blocks, Piedmont Natural Gas’ customers in North Carolina can effectively reduce their natural gas usage, with each block equivalent to 25% of the average household’s monthly natural gas usage. This, in turn, should promote clean energy adoption in the region.

Duke Energy’s Renewable Initiatives

Duke Energy has been taking multiple initiatives to expand its renewable asset base and aims to reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050. DUK already lowered its carbon emissions in 2021 by more than 44% since 2005 and is now expanding its 2050 net-zero goals to include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the power the company purchases from others to use at its facilities, while Scope 3 includes indirect emissions that arise from others in the company’s value chain.

Moreover, it developed innovative Integrated Resource Plans in multiple jurisdictions and updated the enterprise capital plan through 2026 to increase planned investments to $52 billion, with more than 80% of this capital plan funding investments in the grid and clean energy transition.

Of its latest efforts to promote clean energy, the significant ones are the increment of clean energy output by 10% at Duke Energy’s Markland Hydroelectric Station in Indiana and the commencement of the construction of the 120-megawatt (MW) Jackpot Solar project in Twin Falls County, ID. The launch of the GreenEdge program is yet another initiative adopted by the company to duly meet its renewable goals.

Utilities’ Adoption of Renewable Energy

Utilities are adopting renewable energy sources to produce electricity to mitigate the deadly effects of climate change in the United States. Per the latest forecast made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity generation from renewable energy sources is expected to rise from 20% in 2021 to 23% in 2022 and 24% in 2023, primarily driven by projected additions to the wind and solar energy generating capacity.

Apart from Duke Energy, a few utilities have pledged net-zero carbon emissions to achieve a carbon-free environment to benefit from growing renewable generation opportunities.

For instance, DTE Energy (DTE - Free Report) is committed to reducing carbon emissions from electric utility operations by 32% by 2023, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 from the 2005 levels. To meet carbon-reduction goals in the near term, DTE Electric plans to put in service a natural gas-fueled combined-cycle generation facility in 2022.

DTE Energy boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6%. DTE came up with a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 8.97%.

American Electric Power’s (AEP - Free Report) intermediate goal is an 80% reduction from the 2000 CO2 emission levels from its generating facilities by 2030. The long-term goal is net-zero CO2 emissions from its generating facilities by 2050. Its 2022-2026 capital investment forecast includes $9.9 billion in a regulated renewable plan.

American Electric boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6.2%. AEP has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 2.40%, on average.

Ameren Corporation (AEE - Free Report) targets to expand its renewable portfolio by adding 3,100 MW of renewable generation by the end of 2030 and a total 5,400 MW of renewable generation by 2040. Apart from investing in renewable projects, Ameren is also closing its coal-fired plants to reduce CO2 emissions and promote green energy.

Ameren boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.2%. AEE came up with a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 0.36%.

Price Movement

In a year's time, shares of DUK have rallied 5.9% compared with the industry’s growth of 5.1%.

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Zacks Rank

Duke Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.