Duke Energy, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for renewable energy development in North and South Carolina.

The MoU, signed this month, is for new rate structures, known as tariffs in the utility industry, that are intended to lower the long-term cost of investing in clean energy technologies.

A Duke Energy nuclear plant. Source: Duke Energy website
A Duke Energy nuclear plant

Dubbed "Accelerating Clean Energy" (ACE) tariffs, these would help the companies to support carbon-free energy generation investments through financing structures that lower the cost of emerging technologies such as nuclear power and long-duration storage.

Lon Huber, SVP of pricing and customer solutions at Duke Energy said: "In this new era of large-scale energy demand, Duke Energy is committed to working with our regulators and customers to find innovative and responsible ways to satisfy the growing need for more and cleaner energy. With the help of companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Nucor, we can accelerate our service of large customer needs and the transition to cleaner energy, while reducing financial risks and supporting economic development in our communities."

The tariffs would, according to the companies, "facilitate beneficial on-site generation at customer facilities, participation in load flexibility programs and investments in clean energy assets – features attractive to customers with large-scale energy needs."

The ACE framework will also include a Clean Transition Tarif (CTT) that will enable Duke Energy to provide individualized carbon-free energy to commercial and industrial customers.

Kevin Miller, Amazon Web Services, said of the MoU: "With a footprint of data centers, fulfillment centers and corporate buildings across Ohio, the Carolinas and Florida, we’re excited to collaborate with Duke Energy to find new solutions that can help us achieve our Climate Pledge to be net zero carbon by 2040, and today’s agreement marks an important step in that journey."

The tariffs are subject to regulatory approvals in North and South Carolina.

Duke Energy is one of America's largest energy-holding companies, and services customers across North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively operates 54,800MW of energy capacity.

Earlier this month, Duke Energy introduced new rates for data centers to ensure that digital infrastructure providers are paying their fair share. This involves so-called “minimum take” clauses, which require data centers to pay for a certain amount of power, regardless of how much they consume.

In February, the company was talking to some of the biggest players in the data center industry about utilizing their backup generators during times of peak demand for load balancing.

According to DataCenterMap, North Carolina has 60 data centers across 12 markets, while South Carolina has 15 data centers.

Companies operating or developing across the Carolinas include Google, DC Blox. QTS, Microsoft, DeepEdge, and PowerHouse.