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Duke Energy (DUK) to Upgrade North Carolina Electric System

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Duke Energy Corporation (DUK - Free Report) announced its plans of spending about $13 billion to “modernize” North Carolina’s electric system over the next 10 years. Duke Energy said that this project, Power/Forward Carolinas, will result in lower bills and fewer electricity outages. This investment will be over and above the $1 billion that the company spends annually on grid maintenance and upgrades.
 
The proposed project will defend the electric system against storms and outages by moving certain power lines underground, safeguard it against cyber attacks and physical threats and will help expand renewable energy. This initiative will also be customer centric as it will include bill-lowering tools designed to help them reduce energy costs. 
 
Clean Energy for Smart Future
 
In Jan 2017, Duke Energy announced that it will build its next universal solar plant in Suwannee County with the aim of providing cleaner and smarter energy solutions to customers in Florida, with a generation capacity of 8.8 megawatts (MW) of carbon-free energy. (Read More: Duke Energy to Build Next Solar Plant in Suwannee County)
 
In pursuit of more green energy, the company has invested more than $4 billion since 2007. Duke Energy Renewables owns and operates about 2,900 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy out of which 2,300 MW is wind and 600 MW is solar.
 
Major electricity supply companies have been focusing on renewable sources of energy in recent times. NextEra Energy, Inc.’s (NEE - Free Report) affiliate, Florida Power & Light Company, wants to add around 2,100 MWs of new solar capacity across the state of Florida in the next seven years.
 
In Mar 2017, Xcel Energy (XEL - Free Report) announced its plans of making the largest multi-state investment in wind capacity in the country. The company expects the proposed plan to increase the volume of wind energy in Xcel's energy mix by 2021, with wind fueling nearly 35% of its total energy mix.
 
Price Movement
 
In the last one year, shares of Duke Energy outperformed the Zacks categorized Utility- Electric Power industry. The company’s shares returned 4.2%, compared with the industry’s decline of 0.04%.
 
 
The new investment coupled with modernized approach and strategic acquisitions are expected to boost the performance of the company in the coming days.
 
Zacks Rank and Stock to Consider
 
Duke Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same space is Entergy Corporation (ETR - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). 
 
Entergy Corporation’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2017 earnings moved up by approximately 10% to $4.96 from $4.51 per share in the last 60 days. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
 
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