NC Utilities Commission delays mandate to generate electricity from hog, poultry waste

Posted by John Murawski on March 26, 2014 

North Carolina energy regulators postponed for a second time a state requirement that electric utilities generate power from fuels derived from swine waste and poultry droppings.

The N.C. Utilities Commission on Wednesday agreed with energy companies that there’s a lack of sufficient animal waste available in the state to convert to energy fuels, noting that the necessary technologies are immature, regional markets undeveloped and potential suppliers inexperienced.

The Utilities Commission also noted that legislative attempts to repeal and modify the mandate have caused market uncertainties, making it more difficult to secure financing for clean energy projects.

The delay was requested by Duke Energy, Dominion N.C. Power, GreenCo Solutions, N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency, EnergyUnited, Tennessee Valley Authority and the Fayetteville Public Works Commission.

The requirement to use swine and poultry waste was originally passed as part of the 2007 renewable energy portfolio standard, but the only renewable energy resource that has taken off as a result of that law has been solar power. North Carolina is the only state in the country with a requirement to make electricity from animal waste.

Energy companies have had mixed results locating sources and signing contracts and first raised concerns about their ability to use farm animal waste as a renewable resource in 2009.

The Utilities Commission delayed the mandate until 2014, in which 0.07 percent of electricity would have to come from swine waste and 170,000 megawatt hours would come from poultry waste.

The requirements would increase in subsequent years. Swine waste is typically gasified, and poultry waste is typically incinerated but can also be converted into a gas.

Staff writer John Murawski

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