Duke Energy Carbon-Free Resource Integration Study

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Duke Energy has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to evaluate pathways to achieving their carbon-free targets and to assess the operational impacts of the resulting system. This report details findings from Phase II of the Duke Low Carbon Resource Integration study, which consisted of three separate but interrelated analyses: (1) a resource assessment exploring the technical and economic potential and characteristics of wind and solar resources in the Carolinas; (2) capacity expansion modeling identifying the least-cost investment pathways for achieving 70% CO2 emissions reductions in North Carolina by 2030 and a net-zero electricity system by 2050; and (3) detailed production cost modeling of power system operations at the higher shares of low- and zero-carbon emitting generation sources, informed by the capacity expansion modeling portion of the analysis. The analysis finds that Duke Energy can approach the 2030 and 2050 emissions target in North Carolina through investment in a combination of solar, wind, and storage along with maintaining its existing nuclear fleet. The average cost of CO2 abatement in the Carolinas through 2021-2050 is on the order of $27-33 per metric ton (range of $9-34 per metric ton across key sensitivities).Duke Energy can expected increased interchange with neighbors to help balance higher levels of solar, although the ability to do this will depend on whether neighboring regions also move to integrate more carbon-free resources. As Duke Energy moves toward both the 2030 and 2050 targets, addressing energy needs during the winter peak period becomes particularly important, and the system relies on the availability of resources such as renewable or hydrogen combustion turbines, seasonal storage, or other similar technologies that are dispatchable but able to operate at low capacity factors.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages117
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A40-82431


  • capacity expansion modeling
  • carbon-free resource integration
  • Carolinas
  • Duke Energy
  • production cost modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'Duke Energy Carbon-Free Resource Integration Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this