Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas will jointly issue a solicitation for proposals to build and operate a second major wholesale natural gas pipeline into North Carolina to meet growing demand for the fuel in the Carolinas and possibly surrounding states.
Duke Energy's increasing reliance on natural gas to generate electric power, coupled with Piedmont's growing customer demand, warrant investment in a new pipeline that would bolster reliability and diversity of natural gas supplies, the two companies state in their solicitation.
Currently, North Carolina is served primarily by a single major wholesale interstate natural gas pipeline that runs through the state.
A new pipeline would expand Duke Energy's and Piedmont's "access to competitive, secure, diverse and abundant supplies," and "enhance the reliability of future natural gas deliveries into the state," according to the solicitation.
The two companies have "a strong preference" for a new pipeline route that provides geographical diversity relative to the path of North Carolina's existing major wholesale interstate pipeline, the solicitation states. Additionally, the new pipeline should allow for "future low-cost expansions with minimal environmental impact."
Duke Energy has opened five new natural gas-fired power plants in North Carolina since 2011 to replace older coal-fired power plants. Piedmont pipelines supply natural gas to all five power plants.
Duke Energy also has proposed a new natural gas-fired power plant in South Carolina.