Duke Energy Pulls Out of Coastal Wind Project

As reported by the News Observer on Friday:

Duke Energy will pull the plug on its plan to build up to three wind turbines in North Carolina's Pamlico Sound, the company said today, citing high costs.

Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill signed a contract last September to work together in the demonstration project, which would evaluate the potential of wind energy and its environmental impacts on the sound.
Duke said it will now refocus its work on larger-scale wind projects in offshore waters. High initial costs make a larger project more economically viable than a smaller one, Duke said.
It would cost $88 million to install the first turbine in Pamlico Sound, the company said. The second one would run $14 million. The need for shallow-water construction techniques and a growing potential for disturbing underwater vegetation would also complicate the project, Duke said.
"The cost of the project simply exceeds the benefits our customers would receive if we were to continue," said Paul Newton, Duke's senior vice president of strategy for its regulated businesses.
Duke had committed to spending up to $35 million on the project, Newton said. Building all three turbines in the sound, he estimated, would have cost $145 million including decommissioning costs.
North Carolina's most valuable wind resources are off its ocean coast, a UNC study found last year. The study identified potentially suitable sites on more than 2,800 square miles less than 164 feet deep and within 50 miles of the coast.
Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.