Duke Energy announced Tuesday it will speed up the closure of its coal-fired power plants.
Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good said the nation's largest electric utility plans to invest in renewable energy and natural gas-powered plants with a goal of reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“We will need a diverse set of resources including nuclear, natural gas renewables, battery storage, energy efficiency, and the electrification of transportation,” Good said. “We will also need coal for some time even as we increasingly rely on other fuel sources.”
The announcement comes as Duke faces pressure in its home state of North Carolina to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
Environmentalists say the net-zero goal gives Duke some wiggle room to keep coal plants running past 2050 by using technology to capture carbon.
The utility says it now expects to cut its 2005 levels of carbon emissions in half by 2030. Previously, its goal was to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by that date.
Duke Energy says continued low natural gas prices and declining prices for renewable energy options allowed it to accelerate its plan to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.