Duke Energy investing in wind power

As Duke Energy works to meet North Carolina's recent mandate to produce renewable energy, an unregulated division is whipping up wind power in Wyoming and Texas.

Duke Energy Generation Services develops, owns and operates power plants for large users such as utilities, municipalities and industries in 18 states. More recently, it has focused on harnessing the winds of the West.

Two years after its first wind acquisition, Duke operates 500 megawatts. Its customers include Wal-Mart's Texas operations. It's developing up to 5,000 megawatts more – the capacity of more than four of Duke's nuclear reactors – in a dozen states.

Duke's home state, meanwhile, awaits its first commercial wind farm.

That's just one conundrum of renewable energy: Drawing power from the wind, sun, waves or organic wastes means going to the resource. While the N.C. coast and mountains show some promise, neither can match the wind belt stretching from Texas to the Dakotas.

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