Thursday, September 22, 2011

Duke seeks N.C. wind energy

Duke Energy today issued its first request for proposals to buy wind energy, including electricity produced in North Carolina, for its Carolinas system. The wind power would help Duke satisfy North Carolina's clean-energy standard.

Duke announced the RFP on the same day clean-energy advocates testified before the N.C. Utilities Commission on its merger with Progress Energy, although Duke says the timing is coincidental. Advocates have urged the commission to steer the new Duke away from nuclear and fossil-fueled power and toward renewables and energy efficiency.

Duke company had signaled a shift toward wind energy earlier this month, in a 20-year planning forecast for the Carolinas. Part of the reason was uncertainty over federal regulation of biomass, the organic fuel that's expected to provide much of the state's renewable energy.

But the increased emphasis on wind was also driven by plans for the state's first wind farms. Iberdrola Renewables plans to build a 300-megawatt wind project in the state's northeastern corner. A second company is working on an 80-megawatt wind farm in coastal Beaufort County.

Duke spokesman Jason Walls said the company has talked with Iberdrola and others, but he wouldn't speculate whether a deal is likely.

Paul Quinlan, managing director of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, called the timing of Duke's announcement unfortunate. Duke plans to sign contracts in the first quarter of 2012. But Iberdrola has to start construction, presumably only after reaching agreements to sell its power, by the end of this year to qualify for federal payments in lieu of tax credits.

Today's announcement solicits proposals only through Oct. 14 and is open to facilities of 50 to 300 megawatts. Apart from wind generation itself, Duke says it will consider bids for renewable energy certificates, the tradeable commodities that represent units of clean energy, from N.C. wind farms.


Nameless said...

Duke already has access to wind energy. Just build windmills along the shores of Lake Norman. Power lines are right there.

Anonymous said...

So easy a caveman could do it! Thanks for the idea Nameless!

Anonymous said...

You have to go where the wind actually blows consistently.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina has the best offshore wind on the east coast. See:

Road Runner said...

Someone needs to check their science. The wind companies are coming because of tax incentives. The contracts they will sign with utilities will pay their costs whether much wind blows or not. See chart on wind capability.

Anonymous said...

"You have to go where the wind actually blows consistently"

That would be Uptown!

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