Pictured above from left to right: CDR Timothy Craddock, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Crane; the Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment; Indiana Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb; Melody Birmingham-Byrd, President, Duke Energy Indiana; and Duane Embree, director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development.
OFFICE OF THE LT. GOVERNOR
The Lieutenant Governor statutorily serves as the President of the Indiana Senate and chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council. Additionally, he manages the following agencies of State government:
Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb
Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment
Remarks by Melody Birmingham-Byrd, President, Duke Energy Indiana (photo above)
Crane solar project media availability on April 13, 2016, Indiana Statehouse
The electric utility industry of today and tomorrow is looking less and less like the one most of us grew up with. Change is clearly in the air.
Specifically, I’m referring to the growing trend of generating more of our electric energy from renewable resources, such as wind power, hydropower, and solar power. As I will explain in just a moment, Duke Energy has long been an industry leader in reducing emissions from power plants that run on fossil fuels, while developing and deploying the latest technology that makes renewable energy less expensive to build and operate.
Many of us have heard the saying, “If you’re not at the table, you’ll be on the menu,” which means, in this case, that we can either ignore that trend and keep doing business the way we always have, or we can be an active and engaged participant, even a leader, in shaping the future of electric energy in ways that benefit our customers and our communities.
Fortunately, Duke Energy has chosen the latter.
Solar energy is not new to Duke Energy here in Indiana. Last year, we signed agreements to purchase up to 20 megawatts of solar power from companies who built solar generating facilities in four Hoosier communities.
We announced on Jan. 7 that, pending regulatory approval, we intend to build, own and operate a 17-megawatt solar energy site at Naval Support Activity Crane, located in Martin County about 40 miles south of Bloomington. If regulators give us the green light, we expect that clean, renewable solar power from this site will flow onto the grid by the end of this year.
We are pleased to partner with the Department of the Navy on this project. In North Carolina, Duke Energy has already joined with the Navy to build a 13-megawatt solar facility at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville. Our company will continue to explore other opportunities to partner with customers, including the U.S. military, to install additional sources of renewable energy.
As I’m sure you realize, energy from renewable resources is limited because it is intermittent. If the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine, no electricity is generated. A great deal of research is now underway to improve how we might store large amounts of energy for use at a later time. Toward that end, Duke Energy has granted $1 million to the Battery Innovation Center, also located near the Crane naval base, to advance energy storage research, particularly as it applies to homes, schools and communities.
Pending regulatory approval, the planned solar installation at Naval Support Activity Crane will be the first large utility-scale solar generating facility on Duke Energy Indiana’s system. It’s a key milestone that advances us toward the goal of operating our company in an increasingly sustainable way.
Duke Energy has made a huge commitment to sustainability in all of our operations. We define sustainability as operating our company in ways that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for profits. Sustainability incorporates safety for our employees and our customers, actively finding ways to reduce waste in our offices and at our power plants, and serving our customers in ways that meet, and even exceed, their expectations.
Make no mistake – coal-fired and natural-gas fired plants will be with us for many more years. Those plants provide the power we all need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, keeping Indiana homes and industries operating, especially during times of high power demand when it’s very hot or cold.
At the same time, the trend toward renewable energy, which now is so prominent, will only grow. Because of our experience with renewables, Duke Energy is well-positioned and better suited to build and integrate renewable energy sources into our grid. As the largest electric utility in Indiana and in the nation, we are preparing for the future. Since 2007, our company has spent over $3 billion to grow our portfolio of wind and solar power projects nationwide. As a company, about 10 percent of our overall generation capacity is from renewable resources, and we plan to add even more renewables to our portfolio.
To sum up, this solar power project, in partnership with the Department of the Navy, will move us even further down the road toward the goal of providing reliable, affordable and increasingly clean electric energy to our customers.
For more information on this proposed project currently pending approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), see http://www.indianadg.net/44734-duke-energy-indiana-crane-solar-facility/
An evidentiary hearing before the IURC is scheduled for May 10, 2016. Watch for more details.