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Duke Energy Announces Deal to Harness the Power of the Sun


Duke Energy Carolinas today announced it will purchase the entire electricity output of the nation’s largest photovoltaic solar farm to be built in Davidson County, N.C., north of Charlotte.

Under agreements signed with SunEdison, customers of Duke Energy Carolinas are expected to receive more than 16 megawatts of power from the solar farm beginning no later than Dec. 31, 2010. The agreements run for 20 years.

“We said we wanted to lead the way in the development of more renewable energy and we meant it,” said Keith Trent, group executive and chief strategy, policy and regulatory officer. “Today’s agreements, coupled with the other significant initiatives across our company, clearly demonstrate that renewable energy has an important place in our power generation portfolio.”

The SunEdison agreements are a result of a request for proposals, or RFP, that Duke Energy issued in April 2007. It was the first RFP of its kind in North Carolina and was specifically designed for potential renewable providers.

In addition to purchasing renewable energy from other providers, Duke Energy is advancing plans for its own distributed solar generation program. Distributed generation is energy created close to where it is used, rather than being produced in large power plants and sent to customers over the power grid. The company plans a filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in the near future that will seek approval for the program, and the authority to recover its investment. Under the plan, Duke Energy would install and operate distributed solar generation on customer rooftops and other spaces.

Duke Energy is also adding wind power to its generation portfolio. In April 2008, a wind farm in Indiana began supplying 100 megawatts of power to Duke Energy customers. In 2007, Duke Energy Generation Services entered the wind energy business and expects to have its first projects (about 180 megawatts) online later this year. Other wind development projects of more than 3,000 megawatts are planned in eight different western and southwestern states.

In 2007, Duke Energy supported the development of the new Renewable and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) in North Carolina. It requires the utility to satisfy 12.5 percent of its customers’ power needs with renewables or energy efficiency by 2021. Specific solar requirements are implemented in 2010. By 2018, at least two-tenths of one percent of total retail sales must come from solar energy. In Ohio, the company also supported that state’s new advanced energy portfolio standard, which sets a requirement of 12.5 percent of a utility’s sales to be met with renewable energy sources by 2025.

Broader use of renewable energy is part of Duke Energy’s comprehensive plan to create a sustainable energy future for the Carolinas while the company continues to work to reduce its environmental footprint. The plan includes building new power plants; robust energy efficiency programs to reduce demand; and supporting state and federal energy policies that encourage the development of new technology. Together, these initiatives will allow Duke Energy to continue to meet customers’ need for power in an environmentally sound way.


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