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Duke Energy rejects RFP wind farms

UNITED STATES: Utility Duke Energy has abandoned plans to source 500MW of wind energy in the Carolinas due to financial concerns. It will instead try to source other renewable energy sources.

North Carolina's first wind project, the Amazon Wind Farm US East site (pic: Avangrid Renewables)
North Carolina's first wind project, the Amazon Wind Farm US East site (pic: Avangrid Renewables)

The utility issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 500MW of wind power in August 2017.

Although projects have been proposed since then, "none were economic enough" for consideration, a Duke Energy spokesman told Windpower Monthly.

He added: "We could re-visit wind in the future, but there is nothing happening right now in the Carolinas around wind projects that we are interested in."

The utility, which also operates in Florida and states in the US Midwest, has now issued an RFP for 680MW of certain renewable energy projects in the Carolinas.

However, wind projects would not be eligible to participate in this RFP. Only solar PV, biomass, landfill gas, and hydro projects would be permitted, the spokesman confirmed.

Announcing the RFP, Duke’s North Carolina president David Fountain said the competitive bidding process would "lead to better prices for solar energy for our customers", but made no mention of wind power.

The utility-developer aims to own or have 8GW of wind, solar and biomass projects under contract by 2020.

It currently has more than 6.4GW renewable energy capacity, according to its most recent sustainability report.

Duke Energy has just over 3.1GW of installed wind power capacity, Windpower Monthly's research and data division Windpower Intelligence, shows. 

Political barriers

In July 2017, North Carolina passed an 18-month moratorium on onshore wind permits while it considered "the impact of future wind energy facilities and energy and infrastructure on military operations, training and readiness".

This ban is due to expire on 1 January 2019.

North Carolina has just one operational wind farm — a 208MW project providing power to Amazon. The neighbouring state of South Carolina is yet to put steel in the ground on any wind projects.

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