Duke Energy is making a $500 million commitment to solar power in North Carolina that helps it meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).
The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities totaling 128 MW of capacity. The three facilities will be located in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties.
This commitment to renewable energy helps diversify its energy portfolio and helps it meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), states Duke Authorities.
Duke Energy also signed power-purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity.
The 65 MW in Warsaw Solar Facility, Duplin County developed by Strata Solar will be the largest PV plant east of the Mississippi River.
Duke Energy will purchase power from following new projects 48 MW from Bladen County, 48 MW from Richmond County, 20 MW from Scotland County, 19 MW from Cleveland County and 15 MW from Beaufort County.
In addition, Duke Energy has signed 33 other agreements in North Carolina in 2014 for projects totaling 109 MW of capacity.
Together, the eight projects will have a capacity of 278 MW totaling a $500 million commitment.
This is Duke Energy’s largest single announcement for solar power and represents a 60 percent increase in the amount of solar power for North Carolina customers, said, Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources.
In response to the news, Greenpeace commented that the news is encouraging but criticized the investment as not a large enough.
Duke Energy’s long term plans still call for renewable energy like solar to account for a mere 4 percent of its energy portfolio 15 years from now. North Carolina’s customers have demanded for more renewable energy from Duke, observed Greenpeace officials.
Those customers could benefit from even more solar power in North Carolina if Duke Energy would stop lobbying against policies like net metering that would help more residents and community leaders and put solar on homes, schools, and businesses, hoped Greenpeace.
Duke Energy’s RFP targeted solar facilities were greater than 5 MW that were in the company’s current transmission and distribution queue. RFP was a big step in the company being more aggressive at adding renewable energy to Duke Energy’s generating mix, said, Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources.
Through the years, Duke Energy’s strength has been owning and operating generation assets reliably and safely for the benefit of customers. Renewable energy is the next step in that evolution, said, Caldwell.