With an initial focus on promoting solar power (photovoltaic or thermal), PEC said all non-solar renewables proposals had to be of at least 5MW installed capacity.

The first deadline for submission of proposals is 1 January 2008 and the firm plans to inform bidders of the next stage by 30 April.

However, further ahead, the company proposed to look at pitches for smaller hydropower and other non-solar renewables schemes.

Legislation passed earlier this year requires investor-owned utilities in North Carolina to provide 12.5% of electricity from renewable resources and by energy efficiency measures by 2021.

The initial stage of the state’s new renewables standards come onto force in five years.

Under the provisions in the legislation, the proposed measures must have been established on or after 1 January this year.

PEC aims to buy up to 1M MWh of renewable-generated electricity when the first phase of the standard comes into force, in 2012.

PEC is part of Progress Energy, which has four hydro plants along rivers in North Carolina with 225MW of installed capacity. The main plants are the 112MW Walters, 86MW Tillery and 22MW Blewett facilities. Most of the group’s generation assets are nuclear and thermal.