Duke Energy to buy waste methane gas for renewable generation from Optima KV

Written By: Stratton Report
May 24, 2016

Duke

On May 24, Duke Energy announced today it has finalized a second deal in 2016 to buy captured methane gas derived from swine waste to generate carbon-neutral renewable electricity at two power stations. Optima KV will construct a digester at each farm and pipe the captured methane gas to a centralized facility where it will be cleaned to pipeline quality specifications and injected into the natural gas pipeline system.

Under a 15-year term, Optima KV is expected to produce about 80,000 MMBtus of pipeline-quality captured methane a year. Duke Energy should yield about 11,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually. The renewable energy credits (RECs) generated annually by the effort will help satisfy state mandates.

The proposed facility is in the heart of Smithfield Foods’ pork operations. The project should be operational by the summer of 2017. The power will be carbon neutral compared to the emissions that would result if the waste was left to decay at current methods.

David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president remarked: “We see continued advancement in this technology in North Carolina,” said. “This project has environmental benefits and is cost-effective for our customers.”

Under North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), Duke Energy companies must meet specific compliance targets for swine and poultry waste. In March, the company announced a project with Carbon Cycle Energy to use swine waste-derived gas at four power plants in North Carolina.

Gus Simmons, partner in Optima KV and concept designer noted:

“Optima is excited about this partnership with Duke Energy and North Carolina swine farmers. Our on-farm digesters will integrate with and support the farmers’ existing operations. By centralizing the gas processing, we can take advantage of cost efficiencies and provide carbon-neutral fuel for Duke’s existing power plants. It’s a great benefit for the environment and for the economy.”

Since Duke Energy has already filed to have the Lee and Sutton plants designated as new renewable energy facilities, amendments to those filings were made with the NCUC to include fuel from the new project.