Its primary market in the United States provides much of Duke Energy’s revenues, but that market has matured and is growing slowly. Duke Energy has also turned its attention to the international market and is focusing on accomplishing in Central and South America what it has achieved in the United States.
The largest electric power holding company in the United States, Duke Energy began operations in 1900 with the construction of a hydroelectric power station in South Carolina. Duke’s American business currently accounts for about 85 percent of the company’s revenues, but given that U.S. demand is projected to grow only sluggishly, Duke is making a concerted effort to increase its international energy business.
We generate energy with environmental and social responsibility. We work to continue growing and maintaining our leadership in the sector.” —Hugo E. Ferrer, Duke Energy International Central America President
The firm began investing in Latin American operations in 1998, and Duke Energy International (DEI) today has grown to become the fourth-largest privately owned power generator in Latin America. DEI today owns and operates more than 4,400 megawatts (MW) of electric generation in Guatemala, El Salvador, and five South American countries. About two-thirds of DEI’s power in Latin America is derived from hydroelectric sources.
Steady growth in Guatemala
DEI entered the Guatemalan market in 2001 with the acquisition of a local company and its two thermal generation plants: Las Palmas and La Laguna, which have a combined capacity of 107 MW. After the acquisition, the new company became known as DEI Guatemala y Cía S.C.A., or DEG. Later, DEG built another thermal generating plant, the 165 MW Planta Arizona, which began commercial operation in 2003 at Puerto San José.
In 2005, DEG reconfigured the facilities at La Laguna, which now operates a single 18 MW gas turbine and sells reserve capacity. In 2011, the firm relocated an 83 MW pulverized coal plant from North Carolina to Guatemala, christening it Las Palmas II. After this move, DEG had four plants up and running in Guatemala, two burning heavy fuel oil #6, one burning diesel #2, and the fourth fueled by pulverized coal. Their installed capacity of 360 MW makes DEG the largest foreign-owned thermal generator in Guatemala and the producer of nearly 9 percent of the country’s energy.