Duke Energy steps up US wind farm development

US power company Duke Energy announced it is building a new 51 megawatt (MW) wind farm in eastern Colorado and has acquired another 70MW facility in Pennsylvania.

Duke says it will develop the 51MW Kit Carson wind power Project on 6,000 acres of land under a long-term lease near Burlington, Colorado.

The company has a signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to supply customers of the 44 electric cooperatives that comprise the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. The project is expected to enter commercial operation by the end of 2010. The Kit Carson wind will consist of 34 1.5MW GE turbines.

To construct the wind farm, Duke Energy will draw upon the supply of turbines it arranged to purchase from GE in September 2008.

Although the Kit Carson project will be Duke Energy's first in Colorado, the company has a wind power presence in the region. It brought the 29MW Happy Jack wind power project in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on line in September 2008. The 42MW Silver Sage project, also in Cheyenne, and the 99MW Campbell Hill project near Casper are expected to be in commercial operation later this year.

Separately, Duke has closed its acquisition of the 70MW North Allegheny wind farm in Pennsylvania – the company’s first project in the eastern US. Duke Energy purchased the project from wind turbine manufacturer and project developer Gamesa Energy USA. The North Allegheny project consists of 35 2MW Gamesa wind turbines.

Final commissioning of the North Allegheny project, located in Blair and Cambria counties, roughly 95 miles east of Pittsburgh, is under way. The acquisition comes with 23.5 year power purchase agreement to sell all of the output from the wind project and associated renewable energy credits to FirstEnergy.

Duke Energy has more than 500MW of wind-powered generation projects in operation, and this will rise to over 700MW by the end of 2009. The company also has an additional 5GW in development projects.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power companies in the US, and supplies electricity to approximately 4 million customers. The company has approximately 35GW of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4GW of electric generation in Latin America.

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