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Duke Energy Carolinas Signs Deal to Turn Landfill Gas into Energy


Beginning in 2009, gas produced from a landfill in Durham, N.C., will be turned into power to serve customers of Duke Energy Carolinas.

The company announced today that it has signed an agreement with Methane Power Inc. to purchase two megawatts of renewable energy generated from the city of Durham landfill, which was closed in the mid-1990s.

“This is a great opportunity for the city to support our plan to help significantly reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time promoting the re-use of energy that would otherwise be wasted,” said Durham Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell. “I am especially proud that city administration continues to search for ways to reduce our contribution to global climate change. I believe our efforts can create a more efficient government, improved air quality and a better quality of life for all Durham citizens.”

Landfill gas, largely methane, is produced when organic materials in large landfills decompose. It is a powerful greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming, so it must be burned as a waste product or captured and used as a fuel. Currently, landfill gas at the Durham site is being burned off. Under the new agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas, Methane Power Inc. will install internal combustion engines and generators to burn the gas, produce power and deliver it to the Duke Energy Carolinas system.

The project is slated to begin producing power by May 1, 2009, and will generate enough electricity to serve approximately 1,600 residential customers.

Landfill gas is one of the most economical renewable options available in North Carolina and it utilizes proven technology. While specific financial details of the 20-year purchased power contract are not being released, the estimated cost to the average residential customer is less than 10 cents a year.

This is the latest addition to Duke Energy’s growing renewable portfolio. In May, Duke Energy Carolinas announced that 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.

In June, the company filed a plan with North Carolina regulators to invest $100 million to install electricity generating solar panels at up to 850 North Carolina sites including homes, schools, stores and factories. If approved, the project would deliver more than 16 megawatts of power to customers.

Each of these efforts is part of Duke Energy Carolinas’ ongoing effort to add more renewables to its generation portfolio and to comply with North Carolina’s new Renewable and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). The REPS requires that by 2021, utilities meet 12.5 percent of customers’ energy needs through energy efficiency or renewables.


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