Who Does Duke Energy Get Their Power From?

Duke Energy is one of the largest utility companies in the United States, serving 7.7 million electric customers and 1.6 million gas customers in several states across the southeast and midwest. Duke Energy generates the electricity that powers homes, businesses, and industries across its service territory.

Duke Energy utilizes a diverse mix of energy sources to generate electricity, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind and other renewables. The company’s generation profile varies across its different regional electric utilities, with some relying more heavily on coal and others using more nuclear or natural gas. But overall, Duke Energy draws on all of these sources to meet customer demand and provide reliable electric service.


Coal power plants generate around 30% of Duke Energy’s electricity in the Carolinas. As one of the most abundant and affordable domestic fuel sources in the U.S., coal helps keep electricity prices low for customers while providing reliable power. Duke Energy operates 11 coal plants in the Carolinas, including the Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, Roxboro, and Mayo plants.

Some of Duke Energy’s larger coal-fired power plants include:

  • Belews Creek Station – 2,240 megawatts (MW), Stokes County, N.C.
  • Marshall Steam Station – 2,090 MW, Catawba County, N.C.
  • Roxboro Steam Plant – 2,400 MW, Person County, N.C.
  • Cliffside Steam Station – 1,100 MW, Cleveland County, N.C.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is an important source of power generation for Duke Energy. Natural gas accounts for approximately 7-10% of Duke Energy’s total generation capacity. Some of Duke Energy’s major natural gas power plants include:

    duke energy operates nuclear power plants that provide around 11% of its total electricity generation capacity.

  • Lincoln Combined Cycle Station in North Carolina
  • H.F. Lee Combined Cycle Station in North Carolina
  • Dan River Combined Cycle Station in North Carolina
  • W.S. Lee Combined Cycle Station in South Carolina
  • Smith Energy Complex in Indiana

These natural gas power plants allow Duke Energy to produce electricity in a more environmentally-friendly way compared to coal. Natural gas emits 50-60% less carbon dioxide when combusted compared to coal. Duke Energy continues to invest in new natural gas power plants and converting existing coal plants to natural gas to reduce emissions and take advantage of abundant domestic natural gas supplies.


Nuclear power provides around 11% of Duke Energy’s total electricity generation capacity. Duke Energy operates 11 nuclear reactors at 6 plant sites in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The nuclear power plants are:

  • Brunswick Nuclear Plant – 2 reactors in Brunswick County, NC
  • Catawba Nuclear Station – 2 reactors in York County, SC
  • Harris Nuclear Plant – 1 reactor in Wake County, NC
  • McGuire Nuclear Station – 2 reactors in Mecklenburg County, NC
  • Oconee Nuclear Station – 3 reactors in Oconee County, SC
  • Robinson Nuclear Plant – 2 reactors in Darlington County, SC

Nuclear power produces large amounts of reliable, carbon-free electricity. However, it does produce radioactive waste that must be properly stored and disposed of.


Hydroelectric power is an important part of Duke Energy’s generation mix, providing renewable and emission-free energy. Hydroelectric dams harness the energy from flowing water to generate electricity. Duke Energy operates numerous hydroelectric stations across North and South Carolina, including 11 dams and reservoirs along the Catawba-Wateree river basin. Overall, hydroelectricity accounts for around 5% of Duke Energy’s generation capacity in the Carolinas.

Some of Duke Energy’s major hydroelectric facilities include:

  • Keowee Hydro Station – Located in Oconee County, South Carolina, Keowee has a generating capacity of 158 megawatts. Its dam creates the 18,500-acre Lake Keowee.
  • Jocassee Hydro Station – Located in Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, Jocassee has a capacity of 380 megawatts. Its dam forms the 7,565-acre Lake Jocassee.
  • Cowans Ford Hydro Station – Located north of Charlotte, Cowans Ford has a capacity of 280 megawatts. Its dam creates the 5,850-acre Lake Norman.

These and other hydroelectric facilities provide Duke Energy with a renewable and reliable source of power from flowing water.


Duke Energy operates dozens of solar facilities across its service territories. Major solar projects include the Lakewood Solar Power Plant and St. Pete Solar Energy Center in Florida, Utica Solar Farm in Ohio, and Salisbury Solar Farm in North Carolina.

Duke Energy has over 500 megawatts of solar generation capacity, enough to power 100,000 homes. The utility plans to double its solar capacity to more than 1,000 megawatts in the coming years as part of its goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Solar energy represents a small but growing portion of Duke Energy’s generation portfolio. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity without any air pollution. The abundant sunshine in states like Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina provides ample solar resources.

Duke Energy acquires solar power through direct investment in utility-owned facilities as well as long-term contracts with independent power producers. The falling cost of solar technology coupled with state renewable energy policies are increasing the amount of solar energy on Duke Energy’s systems.


Duke Energy has invested significantly in wind power over the past decade. The company owns and operates over 20 wind farms across the United States, with a total wind generation capacity of over 2,500 megawatts. Some of Duke Energy’s largest wind projects include:

  • Los Vientos Windpower Project in Texas – 200 MW capacity
  • Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin – 205 MW capacity
  • Top of the World Windpower Project in Wyoming – 200 MW capacity

Wind power now accounts for over 5% of Duke Energy’s total generation capacity. The company continues to invest in new wind projects and expand existing wind farms to grow its renewable portfolio. With abundant wind resources across the regions Duke Energy serves, wind energy will likely continue to play an important role in the company’s overall generation mix going forward.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power make up a growing portion of Duke Energy’s generation portfolio. Duke Energy has pledged to double its renewable energy capacity by 2025 and continue reducing carbon emissions. Currently, renewables account for around 10% of Duke Energy’s generation capacity. The company is planning major investments in solar and wind energy over the next decade to meet its sustainability goals while continuing to provide affordable and reliable electricity to customers.

Duke Energy operates or purchases power from over 3,700 megawatts of solar capacity and nearly 1,700 megawatts of wind capacity across the U.S. In North Carolina alone, the company has over 40 solar facilities in operation. Major projects like the Maiden Creek wind farm in Pennsylvania and the Hamilton Solar power plant in Florida highlight Duke Energy’s transition towards renewable power sources. With declining costs and advances in energy storage technology, solar and wind are expected to play an even greater role in Duke’s generation mix moving forward.

Purchased Power

Duke Energy purchases a portion of its electricity from other power producers to supplement its own generation. This helps balance supply and demand across its service territory.

Approximately 15-20% of Duke Energy’s electricity comes from purchased power agreements. This allows the utility flexibility to meet customer needs cost effectively.

Some of Duke Energy’s largest suppliers of purchased power include:

  • NextEra Energy – A clean energy company and the world’s largest generator of wind and solar power.
  • Southern Company – An electric utility providing electricity to customers across the Southeast U.S.
  • Dominion Energy – An energy company headquartered in Virginia providing electricity in several Eastern and Midwestern states.

Purchasing from third-party suppliers gives Duke Energy diversity in its generation mix. It also helps support development of renewable energy from solar and wind farms owned by other companies.


In summary, Duke Energy utilizes a diverse mix of energy sources to generate electricity, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind. Coal and natural gas make up the majority of their generation portfolio. While Duke Energy relies heavily on fossil fuels, they have been increasing their investments in renewable energy sources like solar and wind in recent years.

Looking ahead, Duke Energy has goals to continue diversifying their generation mix and reducing carbon emissions. They aim to retire all Midwest coal plants by 2035 and are working to add thousands of megawatts of solar, wind, natural gas, and battery storage. Their long-term objective is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Duke Energy is focused on transitioning to cleaner sources of energy while maintaining reliability and affordability for their customers.

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