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Charlotte's Duke Energy renews contract for wood and poultry-waste biomass plant


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Craven County Wood Energy plans to upgrade its 50-megawatt biomass plant to burn up to 30% poultry waste. The principal fuel used at the 25-year old plant is wood.

CMS Energy

Duke Energy has signed a 10-year power-purchase agreement with a Craven County biomass operation that will produce up to 360,000 megawatt-hours of power a year.

About a quarter of that, or 90,000 megawatt-hours, will come from poultry waste, says Bob VanEllis, general manager of Craven County Wood Energy. That will help Duke meet state regulations that require a small part of the power its utilities sell in the state come from renewable sources, with a specific amount set aside for power from poultry waste. 

Neither Duke (NYSE: DUK) nor Craven County would discuss the dollar value of the contract. But Duke says it produces enough power supply about 30,000 homes.

Craven County has been operating the 50-megawatt biomass plant for 25 years. A seven-year contract with Duke just expired, and the 10-year contract announced Wednesday replaces it. 

Over the years, Craven County has modified the plant to use increasing amounts of poultry waste. It is in the process now of upgrading the plant use the animal waste for up to 30% of its power. 

“The increased usage of poultry waste will help Duke Energy better meet state mandates for renewable energy and makes the facility more valuable to the company and its customers,” said Gary Freeman, general manager of Duke Energy’s renewable energy compliance.

The contract purchases all the power and the renewable energy credits produced by the plant. The power will go to Duke Energy Progress, which covers much of eastern North Carolina. The credits, which are used to satisfy the state’s renewable energy requirements, will go to both Duke Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas. 

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