Top Ten Cleantech Highlights of Duke Energy


Duke Energy is a large energy company with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Duke Energy has assets in the United States as well as Canada and Latin America. This energy company has been providing businesses and residents with gas and electric services that are reliable, clean, as well as affordable. It is currently one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, serving over four million customers. Because of its close work with renewable energy and energy efficiency, Duke Energy offers a number of highlights in the clean technology field.

1) Duke Energy Partners with ITOCHU to Develop Strategies to Reuse Electric Car Batteries. Duke Energy partnered with ITOCHU a Tokyo-based company in November of 2010 and signed an agreement for collaboration on advanced energy technologies, starting with the evaluation as well as testing of second-life applications for electric vehicle batteries. While the batteries eventually become unsuitable for cars, these two companies believe that they can be utilized in other applications. The first part of the collaboration is to gather and then analyze data to see how the batteries perform on their “second life” in homes, neighborhoods, as well as commercial buildings.

2) NC Green Power. NC Green Power is provided to homeowners that what to use renewable energy sources for their main energy source in an effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lower carbon footprints. Individuals can sign up for NC Green Power and buy a 100 kilowatt hour block of green, renewable energy for $4 a month. This equals approximately 20 percent of the average homeowner’s electricity use and will assist in avoiding around 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The green power is delivered to the North Carolina grid and then sent straight to the home.

3) Landfill Gas to Electricity Projects. Duke Energy is involved in a number of landfill gas to energy projects for their customers. Landfill gas consists of mainly methane and is more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. By capturing the methane gas and using it as fuel, it becomes a green alternative rather than burning it and causing harm to the environment. One of these projects is located in Durham, North Carolina and it supplies electricity to around 1,900 residential customers. In Greenville County, South Carolina, the same project is providing electricity to approximately 2,000 homes annually.

4) Hydroelectric Energy Projects. Duke Energy has a number of hydroelectric power plants throughout the United States which are providing roughly 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to many customers. Today, Duke Energy is the second largest investor-owned hydroelectric operator in all of the United States. The electric company started this endeavor by harnessing water power from the Catawba River in the Carolinas.

5) Solar Energy Projects. Duke Energy has been recently making a number of large investments into the solar power industry. The company is primarily focused on photovoltaic solar technology because of its low cost and maturity. It a number of Duke Energy’s retail states, it is developing a number of innovative solar programs and projects to aid the company and customers in benefiting from the renewable source of energy. For example, in 2009 Duke Energy received permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a $50 million program to install a number of solar panels along the grounds and rooftops of a number of warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and schools in the service area. This was to assist North Carolina in meeting the 2021 goal of have 12.5 percent of all electricity from renewable sources.

6) Duke Energy Plans 202 Megawatt Wind Farm in Texas. In September of 2011, Duke Energy started plans to create a 202 megawatt wind farm in Willacy County, Texas, increasing wind power capacity to approximately 1.8 gigawatts. Known as the Lod Vientos II Wind Power Project, it will provide electricity as well as renewable energy credits to Austin Energy throughout a 25 year agreement that will take effect once operation begins toward the end of 2012.

7) Duke Energy Buys Kansas Wind Farm to Increase Clean Energy Portfolio. In July of 2011, Duke Energy purchased 131 megawatt wind power farm located in Kansas from CPV Renewable Energy to aid in increasing its clean energy portfolio. Construction on this project began in the fall of the same year and will likely be up and running by June of 2012.

8 ) Duke Energy Looks to Build Wind Farm in Pennsylvania. In September of 2011, Duke Energy started plans to build, own as well as operate a 69 megawatt Laurel Hill Windpower project in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. The farm will consist of 30 wind turbines from Siemens that will aid in providing enough electricity for over 20,000 homes per year. Commercial operation of the wind farm should begin by September of 2012.

9) Duke Energy Partners with AREVA to Develop Biomass Power Plants in the United States. In September of 2008, AREVA and Duke Energy partnered up to create an innovative joint venture known as ADAGE. ADAGE is devoted to the research and development of green biopower energy solutions for electricity customers in the United States. ADAGE is going to facilitate in the development of biopower plants that will be utilizing wood waste in an effort to produce electricity. AREVA is going to design and build the biomass power plants while Duke Energy Generation Services will manage operations. “This project comes at exactly the right time as Americans face soaring energy prices and look to meet rising electricity demand with green energy sources. The ADAGE biopower facilities will respond to our nation’s need for new baseload energy alternatives,” said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

10) Duke Looks to Purchase Green Energy Credits. Duke Energy announced that it would be purchasing green energy credits from two companies in North Carolina that are looking to utilize solar power to create hot waste as well as cool and heat buildings. The agreements were created to assist Duke Energy in meeting its renewable energy goals.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com



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