Response high to Duke Energy’s call for more solar power

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, part of the Competitive Energy Solutions Law for North Carolina, has received a positive response to the first renewable request for proposals, which opened to market participants in July, according to Duke Energy representatives.

In the first tranche, Duke Energy is seeking 680 megawatts of solar capacity for the Carolinas, comprised of 600 MW in Duke Energy Carolinas and 80 MW in Duke Energy Progress. The bids received totaled more than four times the target amount for DEC and 15 times the amount for DEP.

In total, there were 78 total projects that bid — representing more than 3,900 MW of renewable energy. Both North Carolina and South Carolina received strong responses, with bids representing about 2,000 MW for North Carolina and bids representing 1,900 MW for South Carolina.

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“We are pleased with the robust response to the CPRE program and are confident the program goals will be met for the Carolinas,” said Independent Administrator Harry Judd, of the Accion Group, who will evaluate projects during the bidding process.

Projects in both states are eligible to bid. Duke Energy businesses may also bid, but will only be awarded projects if they are among the most cost-effective judged by the independent administrator. No more than 30 percent of the total RFP can be awarded to proposals in which Duke Energy has an ownership stake at the time of bidding.

North Carolina is No. 2 in the nation for overall solar capacity, and the CPRE is one of several key programs Duke Energy is implementing as part of the new renewable energy law, sometimes referred to as HB 589. Under the law, all bids must be priced below the utility’s avoided cost so the program will benefit customers by bringing lower-cost solar energy to the Carolinas versus traditional PURPA rates.

“While it is still early in the process, the number and diversity of bids submitted represent an important and positive step for a clean energy future in the Carolinas, where customers will benefit,” said Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Accion, the independent administrator, will evaluate the proposals based on the criteria approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to determine which projects provide the most economic benefit to Duke Energy customers.  

Winning proposals will be selected in the spring, and the companies will move forward with executing power purchase, interconnection and other necessary agreements with the selected projects.

-Submitted article