Duke Energy Corp. said Thursday that it has dropped plans to install demonstration wind turbines on the North Carolina coast, saying the project was too small to be worth the cost.
Duke Energy Carolinas had planned to install three wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound under a collaboration with the University of North Carolina. The company and the university hoped to study the potential for wind power generation off the state's coast.
But Duke Energy said the fixed costs from obtaining permits, designing and constructing the small-scale project would be high. Duke said that the cost of the first turbine would be $88 million, with the second costing $14 million.
"The cost of the project simply exceeds the benefits our customers would receive if we were to continue," said Paul Newton, senior vice president of strategy for the company's franchised businesses.
Construction in shallow water would also have potentially disturbed underwater vegetation more than originally expected, the company said.
The company and university will instead focus on the study of larger scale, offshore wind farms, which Duke Energy said would be more commercially viable. That includes a $405,000 Duke Energy contribution to UNC's coast wind oceanside study.