Formerly, as President and CEO of Progress Energy, he oversaw a diverse power generation portfolio and helped engineer a July 2012 merger with Duke Energy that created the country's largest utility. He also bounced right back from the controversial personnel debacle from that merger.
Johnson is interviewed by Power Engineering magazine:
On natural gas versus nuclear:
"...if you're an old-timer like me, you still believe in something called fuel diversity. I know that natural gas is pretty cheap, and I'm a believer in natural gas. I also saw it go over ten dollars in BTU three times, I think, in the 2000s. The volatility has flattened, but there are still events that could increase volatility. So: fuel diversity, the fact that coal is really not much of an option anymore to build, and the longevity of nuclear plants. I think those support the idea that we should have a diverse mix, a balanced portfolio, and nuclear ought to be a big part of it."
On cutbacks at Belafonte plant:
"What we're doing is looking at the load forecast, looking at the customer usage patterns, and trying to determine when that plant will be needed. In the meantime, we are focused entirely on finishing the other nuclear plant, Watts Bar 2, which really has to be our primary focus. And at the same time, our revenues and usage are down considerably over the past couple of years. I will say that the fundamentals of the business are very uncertain here at the time, as they are across the country, and really we are husbanding our capital and our options, as we work through this uncertainty. So we are preserving the option of Bellefonte, and have to focus our resources on the immediate needs, the biggest of which is Watts Bar 2."On Watts Bar 2:
"Watts Bar 2 has an estimated cost of 4 - 4.5 billion, and a commercial operation date in the 4th quarter of 2015. We are tracking on both the budget and the schedule. This project gets the utmost scrutiny from management, from the board, from external experts. So I have a fairly high degree of confidence in our schedule and cost performance at this point. I would say that, like every other project of that size, there are always challenges, but I think it is in good shape, and moving at the pace and at the cost we expect."(Power Engineering, August 2013)