Duke Energy is a John Wayne-sized power business. The company serves electric and gas customers in the South and Midwest. Its US Franchised Electric and Gas unit operates primarily through its Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Ohio, Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Kentucky regional businesses. The company has 57,700 MW of electric generating capacity from diverse mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil, and renewable resources. Duke Energy also has domestic commercial and international power assets. While it is focused on energy operations, Duke also has some limited insurance, real estate, and telecom assets.
The company has retail energy customers in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina. Its US service area covers 104,000 square miles with an estimated population of 22 million. It also has commercial power plants in the US as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru.
Duke Energy has 7.2 million electric utility customers and 500,000 gas customers in the US. It has about 11,690 MW of US-based commercial power capacity and the largest nuclear generating fleet in the country. It also has about 4,900 MW of power capacity outside of the US (in Latin America).
The company reported a 35% jump in revenues in 2012 thanks to the inclusion of the acquired Progress Energy's operating revenues (beginning in July 2012), higher retail pricing and rate riders and higher fuel revenues (including emission allowances), higher fuel rates for electric retail customers, and increased revenues from power purchases in Indiana, Ohio, and the Carolinas.
Net income went up by 4% in 2012 mainly due to higher revenues partially offset by an increase in operating expenses (including Progress Energy operating expenses, impairment charges related to the underconstruction Edwardsport power plant, higher fuel expenses, and an increase in depreciation and amortization costs.
Since 2007, Duke has invested more than $3 billion to grow its commercial wind and solar business, pursuing a strategy of developing green energy sources to shrink its carbon footprint to meet regulatory requirements. In 2012 Duke had almost 1,300 MW of wind and solar powered plants in operation.
Boosting its role in the transmission sector, in 2011 Duke Energy formed a transmission utility joint venture with American Transmission. Duke-American Transmission Co. builds, owns, and operates new power transmission infrastructure across North America.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In a major US expansion, in 2012 Duke acquired Progress Energy in a $32 billion deal. The acquisition created a more than $100 billion enterprise with the US' largest regulated customer base and was aimed at securing major costs savings in fuel purchasing power, generating plant operations and other economies of scale benefits.
Growing its solar footprint in California, in 2013 Duke Energy Renewables acquired a 4.5 MW solar project, the largest solar generation facility in San Francisco, from solar project developer Recurrent Energy. That year it also bought the 21-megawatt Highlander solar power projects in Twentynine Palms, California. All told, Duke Energy Renewables has more than 100 MW of solar generating capacity (16 solar farms in the US).
Through its Duke Energy Renewables unit, in 2011 the company acquired the Shirley Wind Power Project, a 20-MW wind farm in Wisconsin, from Central Hudson Energy Group. The project has a 20-year contract to sell its output to Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
In late 2011, the Renewables unit acquired three commercial solar projects in southwestern North Carolina. It bought the photovoltaic projects from ESA Renewables, and the power from each solar farm is sold through Blue Ridge Mountain EMC to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The unit has four other commercial solar farms in North Carolina, all located outside of Duke Energy's regulated service territories in the state. That year it also snapped up two solar farms in Arizona (in Ajo and Bagdad) from Recurrent Energy, doubling its portfolio of commercial solar projects in operation and expanding its footprint further into the western US.
Not neglecting its international growth markets, in 2012 Duke Energy International acquired CGE Group's Iberoamericana de Energía Ibener S.A. subsidiary in Chile, including hydroelectric generating assets with 140 MW capacity, for $415 million. Chile is Duke’s the fourth largest non-US country in terms of generating capacity.