Don't start your engines! Duke Energy project tackles truck idling

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  • MDI to host truck electrification facility in Caldwell County, N.C.

  • Project to lower air emissions and save 31,000 gallons of fuel a year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A total of 36 electric power outlets will help trucks at the Merchants Distributors, LLC (MDI) distribution center in Hickory cut costs and lower air emissions as part of a Duke Energy $320,000 electrification project.

Instead of running engines to keep cargo cold, transport refrigeration units (TRUs) at MDI will be able to plug into power outlets at the facility. The practice will help lower exhaust emissions, and is cheaper than the practice of running the TRUs on diesel fuel. Shorepower Technologies will install the power outlets.

"Most trucks can use electricity to keep cargo cold when not driving," said Melisa Johns, Duke Energy's vice president, business development. "This project will make that technology available to trucks at MDI's facility – providing cost savings and an environmental benefit to the local community."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, long-duration truck idling results in more than 1 billion gallons of wasted fuel and 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. On average, an hour of idling uses a gallon of fuel.

"MDI has invested in yard management software that will help maximize the use of the new power outlets," said Brent Vaughan, MDI's director, facility engineering. "This capability enables us to keep product cold using electricity, which is estimated to reduce fuel consumption by up to 31,000 gallons per year. In addition to fuel savings and reduced emissions, this project will also reduce noise and air pollution for our team and neighbors."

Construction is currently underway at the Hickory installation. The project should be operational by this fall.

"Shorepower is proud to be a part of this project with Duke Energy and MDI," said Jeff Kim, president, Shorepower Technologies. "MDI is a world-class facility with the latest energy-saving technologies. This project will further its efficiency goals and help reduce its carbon footprint."

This is Duke Energy's second project in North Carolina using electricity to power trucks instead of idling engines. In May, the company announced a 24-unit project at Big Boy's Truck Stop in the Johnston County town of Kenly. IdleAir is handling that installation. It should be operational in August.

The Duke Energy programs are part of a 2015 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups.

About Duke Energy

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About Merchants Distributors, LLC

Founded in 1931, Merchants Distributors (MDI) is a privately owned wholesale grocery store distributor headquartered in Hickory, NC. MDI supplies over 600 retail food stores with food and non-food items in N.C., S.C., Ga., Tenn., Va., Ala., W.Va., Ohio, Fla., Pa., Md., and Ky. MDI also exports to over 20 countries.  Merchants Distributors, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alex Lee, Inc.  The company has a strong customer focus and offers a variety of services to help their customers succeed.

For more information, please visit

About Shorepower

Shorepower Technologies designs, builds, installs, and operates electrified parking spaces at truck stops, rest areas, travel plazas, warehouses, truck depots, terminals, shopping malls, businesses and other types of parking areas. Since 2004, Shorepower has electrified over 2,000 parking spaces throughout North America including 62 truck stops in 30 states. Shorepower maintains offices in New York, Oregon and Virginia.

Duke Energy media contact: Randy Wheeless 
Office: 704.382.8379 
24-Hour: 800.559.3853 
Twitter: @DE_RandyW

Shorepower Technologies: Jeff Kim, President and CEO 
(503) 686-8844