Bill Johnson

President, CEO, and Chairman, Progress Energy

Bill Johnson is the head of Progress Energy and has served several roles within the company.  

2007- : Progress Energy, chairman, president and CEO
2005-2007: Progress Energy, president and COO
1999- : Progress Energy, general counsel
1999-2001: Progress Energy, EVP and secretary
2000-2005: Carolina Power & Light, EVP
1999-2000: Carolina Power & Light, senior VP legal and risk management
1997-2000: Carolina Power & Light, secretary
1997-1999: Carolina Power & Light, VP legal department
1995-1997: Carolina Power & Light, VP and senior counsel
1982-1992: Hunton & Williams, partner: specializing in utilities
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth-Circuit, law clerk to J. Dickson Phillips Jr.

Education: Duke University, B.A. in History; UNC Chapel Hill, law degree (1982).

Board Positions
Edison Electric Institute (EEI), vice chairman
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), chairman
Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), board of directors member

Duke Energy and Progress Energy announced on January 10, 2010, that they would merge companies.  Bill Johnson is planned to step up as the CEO of the newly formed utility company, which will become the nation’s largest.


On potentially making $8 million a year:
“I always say, 'if you're embarrassed by the money, don't take it’.  And I'm not embarrassed by it.”
-Charlotte Observer, February 5, 2011

In reference to Obama’s clean energy plan:
“Clean to me is cleaner than what you are doing today, and that's the way the industry ought to be moving.”
-Deseret News, April 28, 2011

On becoming CEO of the nation’s biggest utility:
“You are the biggest player so your impact on policy changes. I'm going to have to take a higher profile. It'll be a little different but I'd say I'm looking forward to it.”
-Deseret News, April 28, 2011

“Nuclear power has to be part of our energy future in this country. But nuclear is a big financial challenge, both for customers and for companies.”
-ABC Interview, January 19, 2011

“If we are going to tackle some of the environmental issues related to burning fossil fuels, nuclear's going to have to play a part.”
-Charlotte Observer, May 8, 2011


In 2009, Progress Energy announced that it would be expanding its solar power program [PDF].  Bill Johnson spoke on the matter saying, “Solar power will play an increasingly important role in providing clean energy for the regions we serve, and as cost-effective technologies continue to develop, we will work to bring new choices for our customers and make smart investments on larger-scale solar projects.”  However, when given the opportunity to increase its solar usage [PDF] under North Carolina’s Solar Jobs Bill, Progress Energy refused to double its use of solar energy to 0.4% of its energy resources.  Currently, the standards set forth for North Carolina renewables require 0.2% to be comprised of solar energy.  By increasing the solar mandate, the NC Sustainable Energy Association predicts that 7,000 jobs could be created.

When Bill Johnson was asked about clean energy standards in February 2011, he responded with, “carbon is a problem that we need to address in this country.” Later that year Johnson announced that Progress Energy plans to replace half of its coal power with natural gas, assuming prices for the latter remain relatively inexpensive.  Natural gas plants emit half the amount of greenhouse gases as coal plants do.  At the same time, however, Johnson noted, “the advantage of having about 3,300 megawatts of coal and about 2,600 megawatts of gas is that we can play to the fuel markets as the prices change.” 

When a bipartisan group of legislators in North Carolina’s General Assembly introduced the Solar Jobs Bill [PDF] in March of 2011, they hoped to create as many as 4,000 jobs for only a slight increase in the use of solar energy.  Duke Energy and Progress Energy opposed the bill, stating that it was too early to modify the state’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law passed in 2007, which requires the use of a certain level of renewable energy or efficiency. Instead of using the solar standards set forth by REPS as a “starting point” for solar generated power, the two energy companies are using it “as a cap” [PDF].  When the REPS bill was proposed, Duke and Progress also negotiated a deal that tacked on the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) legislation.  The CWIP set-up means that—regardless of whether new nuclear plants are finished—customers would be required to pay for their construction.  Regarding this kind of legislation, Bill Johnson said: “We can’t raise the money on Wall Street unless we get that kind of regulatory structure. This may not be the year to do it, but we're going to try it.”  The company plans to build more reactors and is seeking the funding to do so.