We are facing new energy realities that include addressing climate change and demand growth with a secure energy supply, reliable service and affordable rates. Addressing global climate change will require comprehensive, long-term policies that support the research, development, commercialization and deployment of the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce GHG emissions substantially. Our balanced strategy to meet growing customer demand and address climate change has three parts: aggressive energy efficiency, innovative renewable and alternative energy and a state-of-the-art power system.
Today, coal-fired power plants generate almost half the electricity Americans use. So as we look to understand our “carbon footprint,” it is important to recognize that the highest carbon-emitting resource is responsible for nearly 50 percent of our country’s electricity generation. The ongoing effort to address our carbon footprint will not be easy or inexpensive.
Although we don’t have final clarity on the rules for reducing carbon emissions, it’s clear that we’re facing a carbon-constrained future. Progress Energy is taking steps now to begin the evolution to a lower-carbon energy mix, by converting some existing coal-fired plants to cleaner-burning natural gas plants. Natural gas produces about half the carbon emissions of coal.
Because natural gas still emits CO2, fuel switching alone fails to achieve the 2050 CO2 emission goals targeted in legislative proposals to date, which call for reductions of 80 percent or more from 2005 levels. Replacing all of the nation’s coal-fired power plants with gas-fueled plants still misses the targets under consideration. Realizing those aggressive targets will require a balanced approach that includes new nuclear generation, currently the only existing baseload technology capable of producing carbon-free electricity.
Climate-change policies should be designed to avoid imposing economic hardships on electricity consumers, especially those of modest means, whose energy costs represent a large share of their monthly income. Almost 30 percent of our residential customers have annual household incomes less than $30,000. Climate change policy objectives should be both achievable and affordable in order to be effective at an appropriate cost.
Our company is actively working to reduce GHG emissions by making investments in energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy sources and new power plants, including potential new nuclear generation.
Key Points of Progress Energy’s Position on Global Climate Change
Progress Energy supports federal action to reduce GHG emissions that meets the following principles: