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Duke Energy Carolinas paving the way for more renewable energy projects

Duke Energy Carolinas paving the way for more renewable energy projects

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Furthering efforts to provide renewable energy to customers, Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) today issued a request for 750,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy located in its territory.

Results from the request for proposals (RFP) will help DEC meet North Carolina’s 2007 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) that mandates the company generate 12.5 percent of its retail sales in the state by renewable energy or energy efficiency programs by 2021.

The RFP is open to solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas and other facilities that qualify as a renewable energy resource under REPS requirements – excluding swine and poultry waste. Facilities must be located in the DEC service territory.

“We want to encourage market development of more renewable generation in the Duke Energy Carolinas system in the most competitive manner possible,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “This RFP gives developers the opportunity to either pursue projects themselves or sell current projects under development to Duke Energy.”

The RFP calls for 750,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy and associated renewable energy certificates (RECs) located in the DEC territory. A REC, equaling one megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation, demonstrates Duke Energy’s compliance with the renewable energy mandate.

The 750,000 MWh figure is about what 400 MWs of solar capacity would generate in a year. When operating at peak capacity, it is enough to supply the energy needs of nearly 62,000 residential houses.

Currently, about 75 percent of Duke Energy’s owned and purchased solar generating capacity is in the Duke Energy Progress (DEP) territory.

“We are well ahead of our compliance in our Duke Energy Progress territory, and view this as an opportunity to bring more renewable energy to customers in other parts of the state,” said Caldwell.

Interested bidders must already be in the DEC interconnection queue, which includes renewable projects already proposed in the region.

The RFP allows bidders the flexibility to offer three options:

Purchased power proposals;
engineer, procurement and construction turnkey proposals in which Duke Energy takes ownership of the new facility; or
project development proposals that are in the late stages of development where Duke Energy would take ownership and build the new facility.
Proposed projects must be in operation by Dec. 31, 2018.

In a related announcement today, DEC is also seeking to buy RECs from existing facilities in its service territory. These would be existing renewable projects for which Duke Energy does not already purchase the RECs. The RECs must come from facilities in the DEC territory and must be in operation by the end of 2016.

More information about the RFP can be viewed here.

Overall, Duke Energy companies, both regulated and commercial, have installed about 450 MWs of solar energy in North Carolina – around 35 solar plants total. The company also purchases more than 1,300 MWs of solar capacity from other developers. Overall, this has contributed to North Carolina’s ranking as No. 2 in the nation for overall solar power.

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Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network

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