Duke approved for waste-derived biogas burn in two plants

On July 21, the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved March 18 registration statements from Duke Energy Progress LLC for new renewable energy facilities for its Sutton and Lee combined-cycle generating facilities.

This Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) subsidiary stated that it has entered into a contract to purchase directed biogas from Carbon Cycle Energy LLC, to be produced at a plant to be located in Eastern North Carolina. DEP further stated that under the terms of the contract, Carbon Cycle Energy will: capture methane derived from swine waste, poultry waste, and biomass; record, meter, and attest to the amount of swine waste, poultry waste, and biomass-derived methane it is producing; and deliver to DEP certificates that attest to the production of the underlying fuel.

The biogas will be nominated for use at and transported to the Sutton and Lee combined-cycle facilities via interconnection with Piedmont Natural Gas where it will be combusted along with the regular natural gas for the plants to generate electricity for DEP’s customers.

On May 23, DEP filed amendments to its registration statements stating that it has also entered into a contract to purchase directed biogas for use at the Sutton and Lee combined-cycle facilities from Optima KV LLC, to be produced at a plant to be located in Duplin County, North Carolina. DEP’s description of the terms of the contract with Optima KV is nearly identical to that of the contract with Carbon Cycle Energy, with the exception that Optima KV will use only swine waste to produce directed biogas, rather than the mixture of fuel sources described in DEP’s filing with regard to its contract with Carbon Cycle Energy.

A “new renewable energy facility” includes a renewable energy facility that was placed into service on or after Jan. 1, 2007. In a March 11 order accepting registration of New Renewable Energy Facilities, the commission concluded that using directed biogas produced from swine waste to generate electricity at the Buck and Dan River combined-cycle facilities met the statutory requirements of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) and Commission Rule R8-66 for registration of new renewable energy facilities.

Prior orders of the commission concluded that biogas derived from the anaerobic digestion of animal waste is a renewable energy resource. Further, when that biogas is injected into the natural gas pipeline, nominated for use by a natural gas-fueled electric generating facility, and a proper showing can be made that it is displacing or offsetting conventional natural gas, it is a renewable energy resource.

The Sutton facility was placed into service on Nov. 27, 2013, while the Lee facility was placed into service on Jan. 1, 2013.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.