A Twist of Duke Energy's Arm

Turns out Duke's solar expansion isn't so noble after all

So this week, I stepped out and praised Duke Energy for its seemingly aggressive commitment to solar energy.

“This is one of those stories that needs no further analysis,” I wrote.

Famous last bloggage. Yes, it does. Triad City Beat editor Brian Clarey, an old college friend, provided it.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the most recent Duke Energy headline, describing the $500 million it plans to invest in solar-power facilities in North Carolina, was a sign of the company seriously working on its public image.

But really, it’s just PR noise. Duke has to invest in renewable power because it’s the law of the land.

Before the Democrats got drummed out of office in 2010, they managed in 2007 to pass a piece of legislation mandating that each of the state’s power companies to generate 3 percent of their electricity through renewable means like solar, wind and biofuels, a percentage which is set to rise to 12.5 percent by 2021.

In this week’s news reports, the company seemed so busy congratulating itself for embracing solar, the fact that it was legally mandated seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

Clarey notes, too, that Duke’s announcement comes only after a failed repeal in the legislature last year.

Sigh. Puts a new filter on the proceedings, doesn’t it? More solar energy is welcome, of course, and we’ll take it any way we can get it.

But that’s the last time I ever assume Duke is doing the right thing for anything approaching the right reasons.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest