Duke Energy has signed a contract with the University of North Carolina (UNC) for a pilot project to harness wind power from the coast of North Carolina, US.

The project involves placing three demonstration wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound lagoon located between North Carolina’s Outer Banks and the mainland.

Duke will provide investment for the turbines, including their installation.

Duke Energy Carolinas president Brett Carter said that the company would work with Outer Banks residents to ascertain how wind energy could be developed on a larger scale in North Carolina.

Duke has 634MW of land-based wind power in Wyoming, Texas and Pennsylvania, 99MW under development and a further 251MW of wind projects slated for operation in 2010.