Duke Energy looks to boost wind portfolio

Duke Energy is looking to increase its wind operations further by 2014.

Duke Energy is looking to increase its wind operations further by 2014. 

Duke Energy Renewables added 770 megawatts of wind capacity in 2012. And with congressional action to extend tax credits for such projects, the company expects to increase its wind operations further by 2014.

The unregulated subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp. had expected to shift its focus exclusively to solar projects in 2013 because the tax credit was expected to expire. But Duke Renewables President Greg Wolf says the decision to reinstate the credit for a year as a part of the fiscal-cliff negotiations means opportunities for new, large-scale wind contracts are likely this year.

And some could come within a couple of months. “We could have some decisions (from potential customers) in the first quarter,” he says.

None likely will be completed in 2013, but they would probably come on line in 2014, Wolf adds.

An important provision in the tax-credit extension makes a project eligible if substantial construction is under way by the end of this year. That makes it the equivalent of a two- to three-year extension of the credit, Wolf says.

Even with the extension, Duke will be hard-pressed to equal its 2012 pace of wind-power growth.

Duke Renewables built five major projects last year, all announced in 2011. Among them, the company completed the two-phase, 402-megawatt Los Vientos wind farm in Texas and started commercial production on schedule at the end of December.

Read more in the Charlotte Business Journal.


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