by Ana McKenzie
Greenpeace representatives were quick to respond to news that Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers will retire at the end of 2013. His departure - as well as an executive-level shake-up - is part of an agreement with regulators to end an investigation into the Charlotte-based company's merger with Progress Energy.
Greenpeace has criticized Rogers for never fully committing to renewable energy, though the CEO has consistently advocated its use.
"The disparity between Jim Rogers' rhetoric and the reality of his actions has been a disappointment to say the least, but Rogers has a choice to make," Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Robert Gardener wrote in a press release. "He can leave the company amidst scandal and saddled with plans to increase investment in dirty energy or he can use this time to fulfill his promises to act on climate change. This weak settlement can't undo the damage that's been done, but Rogers still has the opportunity to change his legacy."
Greenpeace and other groups have fought against utilities sourcing energy from environmentally hazardous materials, including coal, nuclear power and gas, and instead have advocated for cleaner ones like wind and solar.
"It is in the interest of ratepayers, shareholders and our environment that Rogers and the next CEO chart a course away from coal, nuclear and gas-fired electricity," Gardener wrote. "True leadership on combating climate change will mean real investments towards a fully renewable utility. It is past time for Duke to make good on its commitments to the people and our planet."
North Carolina law dictates that by 2015, 12.5 percent of electricity sold must come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Tar Heel legislators were among the first in the Southeast to pass such a law.