Duke issues RFP for 750 GWh of renewables in the Carolinas

This morning Duke Energy announced that its Carolinas subsidiary had issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 750 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of annual electricity from renewable energy, as well as the associated renewable energy credits (RECs).

The RFP is open to wind, solar, landfill gas, biogas and other resources, excluding swine and poultry waste. However, Duke says that it expects most or all of it to be met with solar PV, which the utility estimates would come out to around 400 MW.

Under North Carolina’s Renewables Portfolio Standard Duke’s utility subsidiaries must meet 12.5% of their electricity demand with renewable energy and efficiency measures by 2021.

This includes a paltry 0.2% solar by 2018, which both Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas have likely already exceeded. Duke estimates that it either owns or contracts with 1.5 GW of the 2.3 GW of solar PV which has been installed in North Carolina to date.

North Carolina has limited wind resources, and Iberdrola is currently building the first large wind farm in the state. And while Duke Energy Communications Manager Randy Wheeless notes that the utility also has some landfill gas, poultry and swine waste and biomass contracted, “Solar is the renewable of choice in North Carolina”, and generates most of the electricity by which Duke is meeting RPS compliances.

However, 3/4 of what Duke has contracted with is in Progress service area, leaving a gap in the rest of the state. As such, this RFP is limited to projects which are located in Duke Energy Carolinas’ service area, which extends west of Raleigh and into South Carolina.

“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 Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology President Rob Caldwell.

Under the RFP, developers can either build the facilities themselves and sell the electricity generated to Duke, or sell the projects to Duke to run. Bidders must already be in the utility’s interconnection queue, and projects must be operational in 2018.

“We want to encourage market development of more renewable generation in the Duke Energy Carolinas system in the most competitive manner possible,” said Caldwell.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this article gave Duke’s estimate of installed solar in North Carolina at 1.8 GW. Duke has updated this figure to 2.3 GW.