Under chair, president and CEO Lynn J. Good, Duke Energy Corp. supports social justice, clean energy – and free power to those impacted by Covid.
The Charlotte, NC-based utility giant serving the Carolinas, Midwest and Florida last week pledged $1 million to nonprofit organizations committed to social justice and racial equity. The company’s Duke Energy Foundation will distribute grants across seven states where the company has electric and gas customers.
“The heartbreaking loss of George Floyd’s life and the powerful response to it are excruciating reminders of the progress we still need to make in our communities,” Good said. “We must be part of systemic solutions so we emerge as a community where everyone is treated as full and equal partners in our society.”
“We’re drawing on our greatest resource – our employees – to help identify organizations that are working to address social and racial justice issues at the grassroots level, which will amplify the impact,” she said.
In addition to the grants, employees also have the opportunity to support local organizations through the Duke Energy Foundation’s matching grant program, Dollars4Good, as well as its Hours4Good program, which enables employees to earn grants for volunteer hours logged. The company is also strengthening its internal diversity and inclusion programs “to foster greater awareness, respect and inclusion.”
In response to the Covid-19 shutdown, Duke Energy took steps early in the pandemic to suspend disconnections of customers’ electric and gas service for non-payment, and to waive various fees for customers, Good told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting last month held online. In addition, the Duke Energy Foundation provided $3 million to support relief efforts.
“This pandemic is unlike anything we’ve experienced – and it’s required us to dramatically adjust how we operate,” she said. “Yet, our purpose has never been more important. We provide an essential service, powering the lives of our customers and the vitality of our communities, no matter the circumstances. I’m proud to say that our company continues to maintain reliable electric and natural gas service” during the pandemic.
Good also discussed with shareholders the company’s performance last year as well as goals for 2020.
Duke Energy’s “long-term strategy to deliver an outstanding customer experience” by investing in the energy grid, cleaner energy and natural gas infrastructure “continues to guide us,” she said.
“And as we look ahead, our transition to lower-carbon generating resources is important to our customers,” Good said. “That’s why we recently brought our Asheville combined-cycle natural gas plant online and have more than 8,100 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass on our system – with plans to double that amount by 2025.”
The company also plans to renew plant licenses for its carbon-free nuclear fleet, which accounts for nearly half of Duke Energy’s generation in the Carolinas. Moreover, the company’s investments in natural gas infrastructure, including its $300 million Robeson LNG facility and pipeline integrity projects, “continue to aid in our transition to a lower-carbon future.”
“In addition, I’m proud of our progress to reduce our carbon emissions,” Good said. “Since 2005, we have reduced our carbon emissions 39 percent – 8 percent in 2019 alone.”
In September, Duke Energy updated its climate strategy and now plans to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We are taking a thoughtful, disciplined approach to meeting these targets, collaborating with stakeholders in each of our states to turn these goals into reality,” she said.
Before becoming CEO in 2013, Good served as Duke Energy’s CFO and earlier led the company’s commercial energy businesses during its initial development of renewable energy projects. She began her utility career in 2003 with Cincinnati-based Cinergy, which merged with Duke Energy three years later. Prior to 2003, she was a partner at two international accounting firms, including a long career with Arthur Andersen.
Fortune magazine lists Good as 19th among the “Most Powerful Women in Business” and Forbes magazine calls her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” In 2016, she became the first regulated utility CEO designated as a LinkedIn Influencer – an online thought-leadership program – and recently ranked 9th on the Brunswick “Top 100 Connected Leaders” Index.
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Education: Bachelor’s degrees, systems analysis, accounting, Miami University
First joined company: 2006
Prior to joining Duke: CFO, Cinergy Corp.
Named CEO: 2013
She’s No. 125 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies