Power and Renewables

Reshaping energy: A closer look at Duke Energy’s innovative integrated resource plan

byNate Miller

The energy landscape is rapidly evolving, driven by the urgent need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, while also managing an increase in demand associated with the region’s population growth. In this dynamic context, integrated resource plans (IRPs) provide valuable insights into how utilities are adapting and shaping the future of energy generation. One such utility, Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) has submitted a joint IRP with Duke Energy Progress, with whom they are set to merge in 2027. This comprehensive plan is designed to facilitate a transition from emissions-producing power generation to a more sustainable and renewable energy portfolio in the next 20 years, all while accommodating the anticipated surge in energy demand in the area. Let’s take a closer look at DEC’s plan and how it reflects the ongoing transformation of the energy sector. 

Duke Energy Carolinas + Duke Energy Progress Service Territories with locations of affected projects mentioned in the report

The phasing out of coal 

DEC’s 2023 IRP is grounded in a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the risks associated with coal-fired generation. Their recommended portfolio sets a remarkable target of achieving a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2005 levels by 2035. 

DEC’s journey away from coal begins with the planned retirement of Allen units 1 and 5 by 2025. These units have seen limited summer activity in recent years, signaling a shift away from coal-dependent generation. In their place, DEC plans to convert Roxboro Unit 1 with 1,360MW and Marshall units 1 and 2 with 900MW to natural gas capacity by 2029, with additional 1,360 MW CC units coming online in 2030 and 2031. 

Mayo Unit 1 and Cliffside Unit 5 will be retired by 2031, further reducing the utility’s coal reliance. Marshall units 3 and 4 and Roxboro units 3 and 4 are set to follow suit by 2032 and no later than 2034, with potential replacements in the form of 425MW combustion turbine units, pending approval. Cliffside Unit 6 will undergo a conversion to natural gas in 2035 before eventual retirement in 2049. 

Graph of scorecard values illustrating Duke’s exit from coal-fired generation 

Embracing nuclear energy 

DEC is not just shedding its coal assets; it’s also expanding its nuclear energy portfolio. Belews Creek units 1 and 2 are slated for retirement by 2036, but DEC is actively exploring advanced nuclear capacity. The utility plans to have 600MW of advanced nuclear capacity in service by 2035, with a focus on small modular reactors (SMRs). Early site permits are being developed, and construction timelines suggest a promising future for nuclear energy in the DEC region. 

Harnessing solar and storage

Solar power plays a pivotal role in DEC’s sustainable future. The utility expects to operationalize 1,435MW of solar capacity in 2023, including a substantial hybrid facility. Further procurements are planned for 2025 and 2026, targeting between 2,700 and 3,150MW of solar or solar and storage capacity by 2030, including an additional 790MW hybrid system between 2024 and 2026. While specific projects are not yet named, these investments reflect DEC’s commitment to renewable energy. 

Solar projects with projected in-service dates between Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2026 
Developers of solar projects in North and South Carolina with in-service dates between 1 Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2026 by total planned capacity 
Battery projects with projected in-service dates between Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2026
Developers of battery projects in North and South Carolina with in-service dates between Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2026 by total planned capacity

A windy outlook

DEC is also looking to the winds for clean energy generation. Plans are underway to develop 300MW of onshore wind by 2031, with additional increments of 450MW by 2032 and 450MW by 2033. The utility is closely monitoring market conditions for offshore wind development, indicating its readiness to embrace this promising technology when the time is right.


DEC is making strides in hydroelectric power, with an uprate of Bad Creek Unit 4 in 2024 and the launch of the Bad Creek II pumped hydro project in 2027, expected to be in service by mid-2033.

Bad Creek Unit 4 marked as blue dot

The utility is also prioritizing battery storage, with a 1,000MW project set to be interconnected by the end of the year, and an additional 650MW project in development between 2024 and 2026.

Building a resilient grid

A critical component of DEC’s IRP is the expansion and enhancement of its transmission infrastructure. The utility aims to complete 13 of its 14 Red Zone Expansion Projects by the end of 2026, with the final project scheduled for service in 2027.


Duke Energy Carolinas’ 2023 IRP showcases a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to energy transition. By retiring coal-fired generation, expanding nuclear and renewable energy capacity, and investing in grid resilience, DEC is positioning itself at the forefront of the “great transition” from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This visionary plan not only benefits the environment but also empowers customers with energy efficiency and demand response options.

Nate Miller

Nate Miller

Nate Miller is a Data Analyst at Enverus, specializing in market and policy analysis for the MISO and ISO-NE regions. His expertise extends to overseeing the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) dataset into Enverus Power and Renewables products. With a Master of Public Affairs in Energy Policy from the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs and a BA Philosophy, Political Science from UW-Madison, Nate brings a deep understanding of both technical and policy aspects of the energy industry.

Subscribe to the Enverus Blog

A weekly update on the latest “no-fluff” insight and analysis of the energy industry.

Related Content

Energy Transition
ByAlex Nevokshonoff

Each hub developed a unique hydrogen production strategy that was chosen to best utilize the regionally available resources such as renewable energy type and quality, nuclear availability, existing infrastructure and carbon sequestration basin viability.

OFS-banner-485926689 (1)
ByErin Faulkner

Nearly a decade ago, Enverus, then known as DrillingInfo, posted a Gulf of Mexico (GOM) primer on its blog. It remains one of our most popular posts. A few things have changed since 2014, so we decided it was time...

Electric Vehicle Charging
Energy Transition
ByPrashant Kumar

The electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid EV markets are experiencing significant growth in North America, Europe and China. The surge in demand has prompted notable advancements in battery technology to cater to the expanding market.

Energy Analytics Financial Services
ByTucker Keren

The North American play-level inventory rankings are in, and there’s been some shakeups. After almost a year since the last publication by Enverus Intelligence Research (EIR), the remaining inventory by play has seen some movement on the leaderboards. While EIR...

Enverus Blog - What you should know about the future of mineral acquisitions
ByPhillip Dunning

Take the guess work out of providing your family insights into the estate and be empowered to manage your assets.

Intelligence Midstream
ByErin Faulkner

Midstream operators connected 3,524 oil and gas wells to gathering systems in the U.S. during Q2, according to an analysis using Enverus Core data presented in the most recent issue of Midstream Pulse. This is up slightly from the 3,447...

Energy Transition Financial Services

The shift away from hydrocarbons and towards renewable and low-carbon technologies is not only changing the way we power our lives, but also offers a wealth of investment opportunities for those who can decipher the complex landscape. Traditional institutional investors...

Enverus Blog - Analyst Takes: Looking back at March energy trends
Analyst Takes Trading and Risk
ByChris Griggs

As we commence October, it’s crucial to examine the ever-evolving energy landscape from the past month. Our Enverus Intelligence® | Research (EIR) team has diligently dissected key trends and breakthroughs, delivering insightful and data-driven perspectives that empower you to make...

Power and Renewables

2022 marked a significant milestone for renewable wind generation in North America. New wind capacity reached 14.7GW (gigawatts) from 93 projects, an increase from 2021 of 12GW from 54 projects. Looking to 2024, winds of opportunity show 55GW from a...

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Sign up for our Blog

Register Today

Get Energy Transition Research updates straight to your inbox by filling out the form below.

Sign Up

Power Your Insights

Connect with an Expert

Access Product Tour

Speak to an Expert