- Duke Energy Renewables will, pending regulatory approval, purchase a 50% share of Sumitomo Corp.’s 211 MW Mesquite Creek Wind Farm in Texas. Financial details were undisclosed.
- The production of the 118 turbine Mesquite Creek project, which went online in April, goes to M&Ms and Snickers bars maker Mars, Inc., under a long term power purchase agreement (PPA). That output is, according to Mars, 100% of the electricity used at its 70 U.S. locations, which include 37 factories.
- With this deal, Duke Energy Renewables’ 2014-ending 1,627 MW wind capacity, which gave it the ninth leading market share among owner-developers of U.S. wind, will grow to over 1,700 MW.
Of the 4,854 MW of new wind that went online in 2014, 40% had long term PPAs and 26% of the new wind was utility-owned, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 2014 Annual Market Report. At the end of 2014, at least 60 non-utility entities had bought wind energy through various contractual mechanisms, including over 1,800 MW in PPAs.
Over 15% of all wind energy-generated electricity is through direct utility ownership of wind projects, according to AWEA. It has been a preferred strategy for some 10% to 20% of utilities in recent years because direct ownership allows regulated electric utilities to rate base and recover their investment as they do with any generation asset.
The top five utilities for wind capacity on their system at the end of 2014 were Xcel Energy (5,736 MW), Berkshire Hathaway Energy (4,992 MW), Southern California Edison (3,531 MW), American Electric Power (2,185 MW), and Pacific Gas & Electric (2,060 MW).
The top five utilities for wind ownership were Berkshire Hathaway Energy (3,862 MW), Puget Sound Energy (772 MW), Portland General Electric (717 MW), Minnesota Power (522 MW), and Alliant Energy (469 MW).