The North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved a renewable energy program for certain Duke Energy Carolinas customers that would enable certain large customers to secure up to 100 percent of new electricity needs from renewable energy sources.
The Green Source Rider, approved by the NCUC on Dec. 19, is an experimental program designed to give energy-intensive customers, such as manufacturers, data centers, college campuses and big-box retailers, the option of offsetting some or all of their energy consumption from new load – such as a new or expanded facility – with renewable energy.
Customers may elect to offset some or all of their new load with energy generated from renewable energy sources. Participating customers will make an application to Duke Energy Carolinas requesting an annual amount of energy and renewable energy certificates to be produced or procured over a specific term. The company will then work to match the supply source and contract term request with generation from a Duke Energy Carolinas renewable energy source, or with energy supplied through a power purchase agreement with a renewable energy supplier, Duke says.
Both in-state and out-of-state renewable energy resources may be used to meet the energy requirements of the program, depending on customer preference and availability to meet contract needs. All energy produced or procured to meet the requirements of this program will be delivered to the Duke Energy Carolinas system, Duke says.
According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, the program was foreshadowed in April when Google committed an additional $600 million investment in its Lenoir, N.C., data center site, and said at the time that Duke had pledged to develop a new program for large companies like Google that want to buy renewable power for their operations.
One of the main problems Duke faced while developing the program was ensuring that the program would not raise rates for any non-participating customers, according to RMI. But as the program is only open to new customers or existing customers that are expanding it avoids the possibility that the utility could voluntarily remove existing load from its rate base and move costs to the remaining existing customers, RMI says.