Duke Energy confirms negotiations for ReVenture biomass project

Duke Energy says its Progress Energy Carolinas subsidiary is negotiating to buy renewable-energy certificates from a proposed biomass plant at ReVenture Park northwest of Charlotte.

Emily Felts, Duke’s manager of renewable strategy and compliance, filed testimony with the N.C. Utilities Commission on Friday. The testimony seeks to rebut complaints from critics that the company is dragging its feet on meeting state requirements that Duke and Progress start selling power produced from farm-animal waste beginning this year.

Duke and Progress reached an agreement with the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association and others last month that proposes that the requirements for swine- and poultry-waste power be delayed for two years. The delay would allow utilities and other power providers to seek reliable vendors to produce the required power or renewable-energy certificates that can be used to meet the requirements.

Felts says Duke and Progress are making efforts to meet the requirement and denies the utilities are putting up roadblocks to the production of renewable energy.

In the course of her testimony, she reports negotiations Progress is holding with Renewable Energy Investments to buy poultry-energy certificates from one of two plants planned at ReVenture.

Tom McKittrick, developer of the ReVenture project, has told the commission that subsidiaries of his Forsite Development have proposed building the biomass plants. Most of the power for a 1.4-megawatt plant McKittrick expects to start building in December is already contracted for sale to power provider ElectriCities. Progress is negotiating for the sale of power from a second, larger biomass plant. McKittrick told the commission that approving the delay could endanger those negotiations.