Giant Electric Utility Company Shifting to Renewable Energy

renewable energyThe math is simple: more people means more resources needed. And more resources needed means faster depletion of said resources.

This very reason is why one of the country’s largest utility holding companies is moving away from its current form and is stepping towards renewable energy.

Duke Energy

That’s right. Duke Energy, a company known for its massive coal business, is shying away from the dirtiest carbon-based fuel. A combination of depleting resources, consumer demand, and several federal incentives spurred Duke to head down this path. Not to mention the steady rise of stocks of clean energy in the stock market.

Some may say that they should’ve done it sooner, but others are just thankful that a utility company as big as Duke is on its way to a cleaner start. Sounds like a recovering druggie, huh? Well, if you look at it that way, it kind of does.

And it all started when North Carolina enacted its first renewable energy portfolio standard. It requires state utilities to source 12.5 percent of their energy production to renewable resource by the year 2021 and build a foundation for a renewable energy credit program.

Add the state’s implementation of giving renewable energy projects 35 percent tax credit and the already existing federal tax credit and Duke was on its way.

Duke’s Renewable Energy

The current state of Duke Renewable Energy, as the subsidiary has been named, is increasing their portfolio, which, at the moment, is drawing most of its resources through wind energy.

Three months ago, the company announced the completion of their 200 Megawatts wind farm located in Los Vientos Texas. This project elevated their portfolio to an overall capacity of over 2,000 Megawatts, and has shook hands with Austin Energy for it to hold a contract to purchase power from the farm, capping the amount of energy it buys from Duke Renewables to more than 500 MW.

Greg Wolf, president of Duke Renewable Energy, admits that their portfolio isn’t as impressive as their competitors.  NextEra, the leading company in this sector, is currently at a 19,777 MW capacity. But one cannot expect a company as young as Duke Renewable Energy to go head to head with the big boys in that short amount of time, especially if they haven’t completely expanded to other renewable resources.

On their current portfolio, only 100 MW of its capacity is attributed to solar energy. And this venue is what Wolf is looking at.

Interest in solar by tech heavyweights Google and Apple, and retail giants like Walmart and Costco, is what’s shaping up the approach Duke Renewable will take.

To get into this market’s facet, Duke purchased a controlling interest in REC Solar, a California-based commercial and industrial solar developer.

Wolf said that they’ll be relying on REC Solar’s business plans. “They know what they are doing. And they have targeted markets where the retail rates make it economic for customers, where customers, want it, and where the regulatory rules are appropriate,” he added.

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