Progress Energy and Duke Energy have agreed to sign more contracts for solar power as they continue looking to buy electricity generated from swine waste and poultry waste.
The utilities' proposal with industry lobbying organizations is intended to buy time for the two North Carolina electric utilities to contract for power generated from this state's abundant agricultural wastes.
Raleigh-based Progress and Charlotte-based Duke signed their agreement with the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Pork Council and the N.C. Poultry Federation. The N.C. Utilities Commission, which has the authority to approve or reject the proposal, has scheduled a hearing for next month.
The companies have warned they will be unable to meet state-imposed mandates this year and in 2013 on contracting for green power generated from poultry and hog waste. The main problems are lack of operating facilities and high costs for such energy sources that are still regarded as experimental.