Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good Talks About HB2 Repeal

Lynn Good, Duke Energy CEO speaking at a luncheon for the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club at the Palm Restaurant

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good on Wednesday commended the repeal of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, noting the toll the legislation has taken on the state’s economy.

“To see a bipartisan solution come together is something that I think is good,” she said, speaking to business leaders at a Hood-Hargett luncheon at Phillips Place.

State lawmakers last month approved a compromise bill that repeals HB2, which limited antidiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. Since HB2’s passage in March 2016, a range of companies, such as PayPal, have publicly canceled plans to come to the state. The so-called “bathroom bill” has also cost the state conventions, concerts and other events.

“I think the business issues around HB2 have been clear,” said Good, who chairs the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, a group of two dozen of the city’s top executives that had supported compromise legislation to repeal HB2.

Other members of the council include Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, Wells Fargo executive David Carroll, Novant Health CEO Carl Armato and Carolinas HealthCare System CEO Gene Woods.

In addition to her brief remarks about HB2, Good addressed other topics in the wide-ranging talk, including Duke’s planned closure of coal ash basins and the company’s plans to reduce its reliance on coal for energy generation.

A 2014 spill of ash into the Dan River triggered legislation ordering Duke to close all 32 of its North Carolina ash basins. Closure efforts are underway at some sites, while the state continues to review closure plans for other sites, said Good, who described Duke’s work as a “comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck effort over the last three years.”

“I’m proud of the progress that has been made and the dogged determination on the part of the team to do it right and do it well,” she said.

In another part of her presentation, Good pointed to Duke’s steps toward relying on more “clean” energy sources, such as wind and solar, adding that the company is also retiring coal plants. That prompted one audience member to note the Trump administration’s push to restore lost coal-mining jobs.

In response, Good said coal is more expensive than other energy sources that Duke could invest in.

“I think this notion of reviving the coal industry, at the end of the day, economics are going to be an important part of that equation,” she said. “Our strategy will be to continue to drive carbon out of our business.”

Source: Charlotte Observer

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts