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Bringing the Green to Customers

Melisa Johns is Director, Business Development, Renewable Generation Development, for Duke Energy. She will be speaking on the Thinking Outside of the Big Box panel at the 2014 USC.

The Utility Solar Conference is one of the best organized events throughout the year. USC brings together the technology and thought leaders from across the utility industry  to share ideas and collaborate on problem solving. As an attendee, the value comes with the opportunities to listen, interact and exchange ideas with key players working to incorporate more solar in a sustainable way into the grid. As a speaker, I’m excited to be able to share some of the things we are doing at Duke Energy to help our customers meet their renewable goals.

One of the balancing acts utilities face with renewable energy is how to satisfy the desire for more renewables by customers, while keeping increased costs from affecting other customers.

Duke Energy tackled this problem recently when it developed a unique program to offer renewable energy to large customers – allowing customers to offset a portion of new energy demand with renewable energy.

The Green Source Rider pilot program, approved by North Carolina regulators in December 2013, gives customers options about how much energy they wish to offset, what renewable energy source those offsets come from, and where those energy sources are located. This new program is voluntary and will be paid for by those customers who elect to participate in this offering. The Green Source Rider will not affect the rates of other, non-participating customers.

We solicited input from a diverse stakeholder group, including customers, during the design of the program. It was important to gather feedback and gauge interest from a variety of customers, including manufacturers, data centers, college campuses and big box retailers to design a program that would be both attractive to and practical for customers. The good news is that we are talking to a number of customers who are interested in the Green Source Rider and are pleased that they see this as a positive program to pursue and one that will help them achieve their sustainability goals.

The Green Source Rider was initially filed in North Carolina by Duke Energy Carolinas. As with any pilot program, we want to measure customer interest and effectiveness of the program before potentially expanding the option into other service areas.

We all need to continue to think innovatively to develop offerings like this and others to meet the needs of customers while incorporating renewables in a reliable and equitable way. I look forward to seeing everyone in April!