The Duke Energy Power Division has unveiled a new model that will help it reduce its carbon footprint while cutting down on energy costs.
Duke has been the largest investor in the energy efficiency movement in the U.S. and has invested billions of dollars to build wind turbines, solar panels, and solar thermal systems around the country.
But that hasn’t kept the utility from pushing its own efficiency models to the forefront.
“Duke’s approach to efficiency is to reduce the amount of energy you consume, not just reduce the energy,” said James Davis, the company’s senior director of energy efficiency, in a recent interview with Bloomberg.
“It’s the opposite of what you do with electric cars.”
A company-wide strategy to lower energy consumption and energy costs was announced in 2014.
The new Duke Energy efficiency model is part of a broader energy efficiency effort by Duke, and it includes a slew of improvements in the utility’s facilities.
“We’ve made the effort to get out of the business of energy and into the business, the business business of efficiency,” Davis said.
A key component of the model is the creation of an energy efficiency division that will focus on improving efficiency at its coal-fired power plants.
Duke Energy plans to double the number of wind turbines in its coal plants to 12.
“That’s a significant investment,” Davis added.
Duke says it will invest $10 billion in the coal plants over the next five years to make them energy efficient.
The wind turbines will be able to cut power usage by 15 percent or more, making it more energy efficient than any other wind facility in the United States.
The company also plans to install wind turbines that can cut electricity usage by 10 percent or less.
And while the wind turbines can be more energy intensive, Davis says they’ll help the utility reduce energy use by as much as 60 percent compared to the amount it would be without the improvements.
The goal is to have 30 percent of the power plant’s power consumption coming from the wind.
This isn’t the first time that Duke Energy has sought to improve its energy efficiency efforts.
The Duke energy efficiency plan, first announced in October 2015, included more than 50 changes to how the utility conducted business, including creating an office dedicated to energy efficiency.
The office will help the company better understand its customers, and help the Duke Energy team develop energy efficiency strategies that can be implemented quickly.
Davis also pointed to a move to hire a more energy-efficient chief operating officer to help the department develop a new energy efficiency strategy.
Duke will also continue to invest heavily in its solar thermal program to reduce energy consumption, and Davis said that the utility plans to invest an additional $10 million to $20 million in its program over the course of this decade.
“The solar thermal effort will continue to expand as well,” Davis continued.
“Our goal is that we’ll have 100 percent of our energy coming from renewable sources.”
Davis added that the Duke program has helped the utility to create more than 2,000 jobs and improve its financial health.
But the Duke power plant is far from the only one where Duke has focused on reducing its energy use.
The utility has invested in new plants to help reduce its emissions, such as a solar thermal plant that uses less energy and requires fewer power lines.
Davis said the Duke plant will also begin installing solar thermal on its existing power lines as well.
“You’re seeing the shift of the overall industry to be more efficient,” Davis noted.