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Duke Energy unveils biogas-fired power project in North Carolina

Duke Energy Corp. announced March 29 that it will use renewable natural gas produced North Carolina-based hog farms to generate electricity at the Optima KV facility in Duplin County, N.C.

The company said it is "the first application of the technology from in-state farms." The facility is designed to capture methane gas emissions from the waste of five local hog farm operations and convert it into energy using in-ground piping.

"Optima KV is just the first of more projects where directed biogas will be used at Duke Energy power plants to create efficient renewable energy," Duke Energy North Carolina President David Fountain. "This project allows for the capture of emissions from hog operations and converts the renewable natural gas to electricity for customers."

Gus Simmons of Cavanaugh & Associates, a partner of OptimaBio, said the project is a "win-win" for all the parties involved. "Harvesting unused organics such as swine manure from farms can create a new business opportunity for farmers, provide an in-state source of energy fuel and improve the sustainability of the agriculture and energy sectors."

Optima KV completed its interconnection to Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. a week ago. The project is expected to yield about 11,000 MWh of power, which will help Duke Energy achieve its goal of generating 0.20% of its retails sales from swine waste by 2023 under North Carolina's renewable energy portfolio standard.