Duke Energy Corp. President, CEO and board Chair Lynn Good sat down for an exclusive interview just hours after the electric utility company held its first ESG investor day on Oct. 9.
Lynn talked to ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast about environmental, social and governance issues, about Duke’s evolving climate strategy. She also explained how the company is handling social issues ranging from racial tensions to working with customers who are struggling to pay their electric bills during the pandemic.
At the ESG investor day event Duke announced several new initiatives including a methane emissions target, a climate-focused executive compensation metric and efforts to craft "principles for environmental justice."
In the latest episode of the ESG Insider podcast, Lynn took a deeper dive into the compensation metric and environmental justice principles. She also defended the company's decision to build more natural gas plants despite having a net-zero emissions target.
Lynn said that technologies such as battery storage are not where they need to be to make up for performance gaps in solar and wind. Therefore, "we see a need to use natural gas” to meet those needs — “probably in the medium term," , she said. But Lynn added that the company will continue to test that assumption as technologies develop.
Lynn also said heightened racial tension in the U.S. is prompting Duke to reexamine diversity.
Duke is "turning our attention into more rapid progression of minorities and women into the company into leadership in a way that this event has really catalyzed our good intentions to encourage us to move as quickly as we can," Lynn said.
Photo source: Duke Energy