Duke Energy Ohio is proposing a long-term plan to meet the future electric supply needs of its southwestern Ohio customers that will include energy efficiency, new long-term supply and renewable sources and the addition of new generation.
DE Ohio currently relies on the regional wholesale power market for more than 20 percent of the electric supply needed to meet its retail customers' demands. As the demand for power in the region grows and the wholesale supply becomes tighter, leading to increased market prices, the company believes that steps need to be taken now to assure an adequate electric supply at stable prices.
The company recently introduced a new portfolio of energy efficiency programs that are designed to reduce the need for new peaking capacity to meet demand during periods of high usage. The programs are available to all customer classes and include incentives for energy efficient lighting, HVAC systems and other equipment.
"With the generating reserve margin in the Midwest regional market expected to decline to less than 5 percent by 2015, we believe it is prudent now to start planning additional clean sources of electric supply," said Sandra Meyer, president of Duke Energy Ohio. "While energy efficiency and renewables can provide some of the answer, additional sources of generation will be needed as customer demand grows and older, less efficient generating units are retired."
"Legislative action this year is critical to the development of new energy sources, and we will continue to support the General Assembly in this effort," said Meyer. "As the availability of power in the region declines, we need to protect our customers from the increased price volatility that inevitably comes with tighter supplies. Long-term contracting and the addition of new generation will be far less expensive over time than continuing to rely so heavily on the annual wholesale market."
To gauge the market for long-term supply, Duke Energy Ohio has issued a request for proposals to third-party suppliers seeking bids for up to 1,800 MW of sources of peaking/ intermediate power including renewables in the 2009 to 2018 timeframe to serve its retail load.
Additionally, DE Ohio supports the construction of new clean coal generating facilities in Ohio and is willing to include a new clean coal generating facility in its supply plan, if enabling legislation is approved. The plant would generate between 600 and 800 megawatts of electric supply and would be in service after 2013. It has been more than 15 years since the last baseload generation was added in DE Ohio's service area.
"Adequate electric supplies at predictable prices are a key to economic development," Meyer added. "We will be unable to sell southwest Ohio as a great place for businesses to prosper if we cannot assure them that we can meet their supply needs. Our comprehensive plan of energy efficiency and new sources of generation provides that surety."
Duke Energy's Ohio operations deliver safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 680,000 electric customers and natural gas service to approximately 420,000 customers.