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Duke Energy Adds Second Pennsylvania Wind Farm

Duke Energy will build a 69-megawatt wind farm in north-central Pennsylvania, its second in that state.

Duke Energy Renewables, an unregulated subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., has contracted to sell the power for 25 years to Delaware Municipal Electric Corp., which provides power to nine municipal utilities in Delaware. The 30 Siemens wind turbines in the 6,000-acre Laurel Hill Windpower Project will produce sufficient power for up to 20,000 homes.

Duke does not disclose the construction costs for projects in its commercial division. But based on the industry’s average construction costs per megawatt of wind power in 2010 — the most recent available — Laurel Hill will cost around $170 million or less.

Rapid growth

Construction started last month at the site in Lycoming County, Pa., more than 60 miles west of Scranton. The project is expected to start producing power in September 2012.

Duke also operates the 70-megawatt North Allegheny Windpower Project 95 miles east of Pittsburgh, which it bought in 2009.

In announcing plans for the plant, Duke Renewables President Greg Wolf cites the “remarkable growth” the company has sustained in its wind and solar business.

That is particularly true of the wind business. Duke got into the business of commercial wind development and power sales in 2007. It has gone from no wind to more than 1,000 megawatts of capacity now producing power.

When Laurel Hill and three other projects Duke has already announced are finished next year, the company will have more than 1,400 megawatts of wind capacity. Two other projects, one in Michigan and one in Texas, not yet formally announced by Duke would add 400 megawatts.

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