Senate Bill 3 Strikes Again

The mandates contained in Senate Bill 3, the NC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard enacted in 2007, have prompted another North Carolina energy company to make a new commitment to a foolish solar energy investment that ratepayers will eventually have to fund.

The announcement by Duke Energy was reported yesterday in an article published in NC Tech News, from which I have selected this excerpt:

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced a $500 million commitment to a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina.  This culminates the company’s request for proposals (RFP) issued in February 2014 for new solar capacity.  It will help Duke Energy further its commitment to renewable energy, diversify its energy portfolio and meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).  It also provides customers greater access to renewable energy in a cost-effective manner.  The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities – totaling 128 megawatts (MW) of capacity – including the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility east of the Mississippi River.  The three facilities will be located in Bladen, Duplin, and Wilson counties.

Duke Energy also signed power-purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity.  Together, the eight projects will have a capacity of 278 MW.  The $500 million commitment includes the investment in the three facilities and the value of the five long-term power-purchase contracts.

“This is Duke Energy’s largest single announcement for solar power and represents a 60 percent increase in the amount of solar power for our North Carolina customers,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources.  “We are bringing large amounts of renewable energy onto our system in the most cost-effective way possible.”

For those so inclined, the full article is HERE.  Others may be interested to know that the planned “largest solar photovoltaic facility east of the Mississippi River” refers to a facility to be built near Warsaw.

And finally, there is THIS related news on the USDA’s federal loan guarantees being issued for 22 solar projects within North Carolina’s borders.