Xcel Announces 150 MW Solar RFP

This morning, Xcel Energy announced plans to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 150 MW of solar energy generation. Xcel included its RFP plans in a filing submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) outlining its strategy for complying with Minnesota’s new solar energy standard. The standard requires that public utilities like Xcel obtain 1.5 percent of their retail sales from solar energy resources. Xcel expects to obtain about 1/3 of its Minnesota solar requirement from distributed solar resources (including community solar gardens and small projects eligible for certain incentives). The other 2/3 of the mandate would be met via large-scale solar projects, which are the focus of the RFP.

Xcel anticipates issuing the RFP on April 15, 2014 with proposals due June 1, 2014. Following contract negotiations, selected projects would be submitted to the Commission in October 2014. 

 

In other Minnesota solar news, the Commission conditionally approved Xcel’s community solar garden plan yesterday, including the interim rates we wrote about last week. A compliance filing will be due within 30 days of the Commission’s written order. Then, Xcel is required to open the program within 90 days of the Commission’s approval of the compliance filing. 

SDG&E Issues Renewables RFO

On December 16, 2013, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) issued its 2013 Request for Offers ("RFO") seeking Eligible Renewable Resources. This solicitation will facilitate SDG&E’s compliance with California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”).

The solicitation seeks Eligible Renewable Resources from all types of renewable technologies providing both Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) and Energy (“Bundled Products”), and REC-only products. SDG&E is soliciting Category 1 and 2 products for a term of 15 years or less and with contractual deliveries beginning in 2020. The Commercial Operation Dates of these facilities may be as early as 2016 or as late as 2021. SDG&E is also soliciting Category 3 products generated in 2018 at the earliest, with a preference for those generated in 2020 and 2021.

SDG&E encourages respondents to carefully review submission documents and provide sufficient details in all required bid forms. One pre-bid conference will be held via webinar on January 15, 2014 from 9:30am-12pm PST. Webinar information will be posted on the RFO website once it is finalized. Any party interested in attending the webinar should register on the PowerAdvocate® site and must send the company name, attendees’ names, titles and contact information to renewablerfo@semprautilities.com. Please limit your participation to two representatives per organization.

Offers in response to the RFO are due January 29, 2014 via the PowerAdvocate® online platform. In order to submit a bid, applicants must register at www.poweradvocate.com. Please monitor the RFO website and PowerAdvocate® online platform for subsequent updates, notices and announcements.

Important RFO Dates

• Bidder’s Conference: January 15th
• RFO Closing Date: January 29th (bids are due by 12 NOON PST on January 29th)
• Shortlisted Respondents Notified: March 10th


For additional information and to download the required documents visit: http://www.sdge.com/renewable-portfolio-standard-rfo-december-2013

Questions/comments can be submitted to: renewablerfo@semprautilities.com
 

Army Announces Forthcoming RFP for Biomass Energy

From my colleague Chad Marriott, who is attending the RETECH 2012 Conference in Washington, DC:

Today at ACORE's RETECH 2012 conference in Washington, D.C., John Lushetsky, Executive Director of the U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force ("EITF") announced that the Army expects to issue a request for proposals within the next 90 days for a 15-28 MW biomass project to be located at Fort Drum in New York. The Army will be seeking a long-term power purchase agreement under the authority granted to it in 10 U.S.C. 2922a. The Army will issue the RFP through the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy.

PG&E Announces Energy Storage RFI

California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) announced today that it plans to issue an Energy Storage Request for Information (“RFI”) to obtain information on utility-scale, dispatchable, and operationally flexible storage resources through a solicitation of interest from technology providers, owners, and developers of energy storage resources.  PG&E said that it plans to issue the RFI and to ask for responses from RFI participants this year.     

PG&E explained that the RFI will help it to learn about different storage technologies and their costs, to understand which storage technologies could bid into a future RFO, and to identify and value the various attributes of those technologies. The company plans to open up its Energy Storage RFI website later this week--the new website will list the types of questions that PG&E plans to ask in the RFI.  PG&E invites feedback on its proposed questions in the form of comments or questions to EnergyStorage@pge.com.

Persons who want to to subscribe to PG&E's general RFO distribution list should go to www.pge.com/rfo to fill out theregistration form and submit the Excel form as an attachment to the Renewable RFO mailbox.  Registrants will receive notices about this energy storage RFI and other PG&E long-term procurement solicitations. 

Georgia Power Files for Advanced Solar Initiative

On September 26, 2012, Georgia Power filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission a proposal for the creation of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative, a program that would result in the procurement of up to 210 megawatts of solar generation through power purchase agreements. Of the 210 MWs, 180 will come from utility scale projects while 30 MW will come from distributed projects.

Utility Scale Projects.  The proposal calls for Georgia Power to issue RFPs in 2013, 2014, and 2015 for utility scale solar projects up to 20 MWs in size and to be located in Georgia.  The PPAs would have twenty year terms and with pricing not to exceed 12 cents per kWh. 

Distributed Projects.  Georgia Power will also enter PPAs with Small-Scale projects (up to 100 kW) and Medium-Scale projects (greater than 100kW and smaller than 1 MW).  In each of 2013, 2014 and 215, Georgia Power will enter 10 MW worth of PPAs with Small/Medium-Scale projects until anoverall cap of 30 MW is reached.

More information and a copy of Georgia Power's filing is available here.

TerraPass Issues California Renewable Energy RFI

TerraPass Inc., recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) on behalf of a client that is interested in ownership, investment and/or long-term bundled renewable energy offtake opportunities within PG&E territory.  The RFI seeks information from firms with renewable energy projects that are currently under development or construction in California and have projected online dates in 2014 or 2015. TerraPass' client will consider a project or portfolio of projects with expected generating capacity of up to 230 million kilowatt-hours per year.  

TerraPass' contact for this RFI is Erin Craig, who can be reached at 415-644-578.  We understand that the deadline for the RFI response is October 26.

Seattle City Light Issues RFP for Renewable Energy

Seattle City Light recently issued a request for proposals f(RFP) or up to 150,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy or renewable energy credits per year, starting in 2020.  The projects that generate the RECs or energy must qualify as eligible according to Washington State’s renewable portfolio standard. In addition, City Light will require a minimum output guarantee and credit assurances. The utility will also consider proposals for equity ownership.

In its RFP announcement, City Light said that it will consider a broad range of proposals, technologies, and contractual arrangements. A party submitting a proposal must be the owner of the eligible resource or renewable energy credits, or have written authorization from the owner to submit a proposal. City Light prefers baseload or dispatchable resources to complement existing supply resources that are predominately hydroelectric.
 

For more information on submitting a proposal, contact Robert W. Cromwell, Jr., director of power contracts and resource acquisition at robert.cromwell@seattle.gov, by phone at (206) 684-3856 or by FAX at (206) 386-4555.

 

City of Palo Alto Announces Renewables RFP

The City of Palo Alto, California, is seeking a minimum of 20 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually, not to exceed 80 GWh/year, from eligible renewable resources. The City will not, however, consider proposals for the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) alone . The City intends to negotiate and execute one or more power purchase agreements with one or more selected bidders, for terms of five (5) to thirty (30) years. The energy and RECs procured will be used to meet Pal Alto's City Council-imposed renewable energy supply target of 33% by 2015. 

The City will hold a pre-proposal conference at 10:00 am on Septemer 6, 2012.   The deadline for bid submission is 3:00 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012.   Details of the RFP can be found here   The City's Contract Administrator is Carolynn Bissett, 650-329-2460.

Army Holds Pre-Proposal Conference in Huntsville on Renewable Energy Procurement

On August 22, 2012, the U.S. Army Engineering & Support Center in Huntsville, AL held a pre-proposal conference to discuss the final multi-award task order contract that was issued on August 7, 2012 (the “Final RFP” or “MATOC”).  My colleague, Lane Tucker, and I attended to hear the Army’s presentations and to engage directly with renewable energy developers, consultants, seasoned government contractors, large energy service contractors (ESCOs), and others. The conference provided attendees a great opportunity to explore the field of potential contractors and subcontractors and start (or continue) conversations about potential teaming arrangements that could result in both a MATOC award and one or more base task order awards. 

For those who could not attend, fear not; all of the presentation materials will soon be available on the Army EITF website and the Huntsville team will post all of the questions presented, along with the Army’s formal responses, to the ProjNet website. Also important is that Tonju Butler, the Procuring Contracting Officer, indicated that the deadline for questions on the Final RFP would be extended from today until September 7, 2012, so that individuals and teams can have additional time to formulate and posit questions that may be important to their proposals.  However, that change has not yet been posted to the FedBizOpps website as an amendment.  It is too early to tell whether this extension foreshadows an extension of the October 5, 2012 proposal deadline. Right now, the Army is holding firm to that date, so individuals and teams that intend to respond should plan accordingly. Keep an eye out for other amendments to the Final RFP, too. Conference attendees were assured that more would be forthcoming to clarify small technical issues and, hopefully, to flush out the structure for proposing prices. All amendments will be posted to the FedBizOpps website for the MATOC.

Here are a few takeaways and a short discussion about some important issues. Be sure to check the Q&A on the ProjNet website for any official responses from the Army on these topics. 

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Northwestern Energy Renewable Generation RFP

Northwestern Energy has issued an RFP seeking up to 45 MW of renewable generation that qualify under Montana's community renewable resource requirement.  The RFP process is being managed by Land Energy Consulting. 

The first conference call for the RFP was held on August 15, and a second is scheduled for September 12.  Proposals are due at 5:00 pm Mountain Tme on September 28.  Details and materials concerning the RFP can be found here.

Arizona Public Service Company Gila Bend Solar RFP

Arizona Public Service Company has announced that it is seeking proposals from solar developers and installers to build a 32 MW solar PV facility.  APS would finance the project  through its AZ Sun Program.  When completed, the new solar facility will be owned and operated by APS and is expected to provide electricity to more than 8,000 Arizona homes.  Projects must employ commercially proven technology as identified in the RFP. 

According to APS's RFP page, the RFP will open for bid submission on August 22, 2012 and will close October 8, 2012.  APS encourages interested parties to participate in a bidder's webinar on August 29, 2012. Registration with PowerAdvocate is required.  Additional information concerning the RFP can be found can be found on APS' RFP page.

DTE Energy Announces Wind RFP

On May 3, 2012, The Detroit Edison Company (DTE Energy)  issued a Request for Proposals (RFP)  seeking approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of nameplate rated capacity or approximately 300 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of annual supply (including associated RECs) from wind energy systems that will have a commercial operation date before December 31, 2013.  DTE expects to contract for the output of the wind energy systems through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).   

The RFP itself can be found here, and additional important information concerning the RFP can be found here. DTE’s contact for this RFP is Lori Taylor-Wallace, renewsuppliers@dteenergy.com, 313-235-8532.

SCE and SDG&E Announce 2012 RAM 2 RFOs

On April 30, 2012, SCE announced the launch of its second Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) RFO (RAM 2). SCE's RAM program is open to all RPS eligible technologies not greater than 20 MW and interconnected within any of the service territories of SCE, Pacific Gas & Electric or San Diego Gas & Electric.  The RAM RFO will be conducted using the RFO website provided by Accion Group, the independent evaluator for the RAM 2 RFO. According to SCE, Interested parties should visit the RFO website for more information, to submit an Offer, or to ask a question.  On May 11, 2012, SCE will host a RAM Program Forum at the SCE office in Rosemead. More information can be found on the RFO website.   .

SDG&E  announced its RAM 2 RFO on May 1, and the details can be found here.  SDG&E notes that its RAM program is designed to procure a total of 155 MWs over the course of four solicitations.  The company's first RAM solicitation, held in November of 2011, resulted in the procurement of 15 MWs, leaving 140 MWs to procure over the course of the next three solicitations.  In the RAM 2 solicitation, SDG&E intends to procure 45 MWs pursuant to 10, 15 and 20-year RAM Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers.  SDG&E plans to hold one pre-bid conference on May 7, 2012 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM in San Diego-- instructions for registering can be found on SDG&Es RAM 2 web page

PG&E announced yesterday that it planned to issue its RAM 2 RFO today.  Details can be found on PG&E's RAM 2 website. 

For a discussion of changes to the RAM process recently approved by the CPUC, see Allison Cook's recent blog on the topic. 

PG&E Announces 2012 PV PPA RFO

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) announced yesterday that it had issued its 2012 Photovoltaic Program Power Purchase Agreement Request for Offers (“PV PPA RFO”).  PG&E seeks to procure PPAs for 50 MW of new photovoltaic resources to be located in PG&E’s service territory.  

Copies of the solicitation protocol and related information and materials are now available on PG&E’s website .  In its announcement, PG&E advises prospective bidders to "use the current versions of the documents when submitting an offer for this RFO." Offers are due by May 3.

PG&E will host a Participants’ Webinar on April 11 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific time.  To register for the Webinar, complete the Webinar Registration Form and return it to PVProgram@pge.com by April 6, 5:00 PM PPT. 

For information or questions about PG&E’s 2012 PV PPA RFO, please email PVProgram@pge.com.

 

PG&E Announces Plans to Issue 2012 Solar PV RFO

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that it expects to issue its 2012 Solar Photovoltaic PPA RFO (“PV PPA RFO”) in late March or April .  PG&E's goal in this second round of the RFO is to procure 50 MW of new PV generation. 

Two of the eligibility requirements of the PV PPA RFO are (1) that participants provide proof that an interconnection application has been filed, and (2) that participants must pursue Resource Adequacy for their projects.  If you need to file an application, note that the current Cluster 5 window closes March 31, 2012.  For program information, please visit PG&E’s 2012 PV PPA RFO website.  Among other things, PG&E notes on the RFO website that it has developed an interactive, Google-based map of its service territory as a tool to help renewable energy developers identify potential project sites (although the map is not a guarantee that generators can interconnect at any particular time and place).

PG&E plans to conduct a Participants’ Webinar to discuss the 2012 PV PPA RFO shortly after its issuance. Registration for this event will be posted on the 2012 PV PPA RFO website at a later date.

FAQ on Army's $7 Billion Draft RFP for Renewable Energy

On February 24, 2012, the U.S. Army Engineering & Support Center issued a draft request for proposals for renewable and alternative energy (the “Draft RFP”). Since posting our initial blog and Energy Law Alert, we have received a number of inquiries about the details of the solicitation. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Before we get to the questions, however, we wanted to remind everyone of the Climate Solutions event entitled “Mission Critical: Clean Energy and the U.S. Military” that will be held at 600 University Street in Seattle from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. The event will be hosted by David Benson, an energy and clean tech partner in our Seattle office. We look forward to seeing you there.

Q1:      Is this the actual RFP?

            A1:      No. It is only a draft. The Draft RFP can be found here. The Army is accepting comments until March 21, 2012. Comments can be submitted via the ProjNet website here.

Q2:      When will the Army issue the final RFP and what form will it take?

            A2:      The Draft RFP does not set a date for release of the final RFP, which will take the form of a Multi-Award Task Order Contract (the “MATOC/Final RFP”). For those unfamiliar with the MATOC process, it is very important to understand four fundamental things: (1) the MATOC will not likely offer the opportunity to bid on any specific project (i.e., a “seed project”) because the Draft RFP covers multiple technologies, (2) the Army will grant multiple awards under the MATOC, (3) awards granted under the MATOC give awardees the right to bid on individual Task Order contracts issued by specific facilities for specific projects (e.g., a Task Order for a 10 MW solar PV project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington), (4) parties that are not awardees in the MATOC process may not bid on these Task Orders. Thus, a developer must be an awardee under the MATOC/Final RFP in order to have the right to bid on individual project development opportunities. Before issuing the MATOC/Final RFP, the Army will need to complete its review of all of the comments that it receives by the March 21 deadline. At some point after the MATOC/Final RFP is published, the Army will host a pre-proposal conference in Huntsville, Alabama where participants will hear presentations regarding the program, the scope of work, contractual considerations, and small-business considerations. 

Q3:      Is the Department of Defense really mandated to procure 25% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025?

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Great River Energy Issues Request for Proposals

On August 15, 2011, Great River Energy (GRE) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for community-based energy development (C-BED) renewable energy resources.  Eligible energy technologies include: wind, solar, hydroelectric of less than 100 megawatts, biomass, municipal solid waste, landfill gas and anaerobic digesters, and hydrogen produced from any of the previous resources.

In announcing the RFP, GRE noted that it already has enough renewable resources in its energy portfolio to meet Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard.  Minnesota's RES requires electric utilities to supply an increasing percentage of their energy sales from renewable energy sources, reaching 25 percent by 2025. Nevertheless, GRE issued the RFP to "evaluate if additional C-BED renewable resources can provide value to our member cooperatives in the future," according to Jon Brekke, Great River Energy vice president of member services.  GRE plans to evaluate proposals based on their impact to wholesale power rates and other factors.

Proposals are due before 4pm Central Prevailing Time on Sept. 9, 2011.  GRE plans to notify short listed bidders by September 30 and has targeted November 1, 2011 as the execution date for a power purchase agreement (PPA).  GRE is clearly looking for bargains from developers who can take advantage of the Section 1603 cash grant, a program that expires on December 31, 2011, and who can place a project in service by December 31, 2012.  Since projects seeking the cash grant will need to "begin construction" (as that concept is defined in Section 1603) by December 31, 2011, the November 1 target execution date will likely be critical for developers seeking to arrange project financing before year end.

GRE is interested in entering into a PPA rather than a build-transfer or other ownership arrangement.  GRE's form of PPA can be found here.   The RFP itself can be found here.  For more information about the RFP, contact Mark Rathbun at 763-445-6104 or 2011cbedrenewablerfp@grenergy.com.

Puget Sound Energy Files for WUTC Review of "All-Source" RFP

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) a Request for Proposals for All Generation Sources (the all-source RFP) and a Request for Proposals for Electric and Demand Side Resources (energy-efficiency RFP). PSE filed the draft all source RFP on August 1, 2011 and plans to issue a separate energy efficiency RFP later.  

Under the all source RFP, PSE is seeking proposals for energy generation resources as capacity generation resources, as well as transmission products from BPA’s system to PSE's system. PSE is willing to consider both existing generation resources and resources that are under development but expected to achieve commercial operation no later than December 2015. According to PSE, a revised assessment of its portfolio needs and peak customer power requirements demonstrates a need for approximately 500 MW of capacity by the end of 2012.  PSE would be willing to consider various commercial arrangements under the RFP, including power purchase agreements, temporal exchange agreements, ownership arrangements (e.g., a transfer of development assets, a build-transfer arrangement, or sale of an existing asset), as well as transmission-only products from BPA’s system.

 

PSE will be hosting an RFP Proposal Conference on August 16, 2011, in Bellevue, Washington, to discuss the all-source RFP. To register for the conference, email janice.brown@pse.com. Public comments on the draft RFP are due on September 2, 2011, and PSE expects to receive WUTC approval by September 28. If the schedule holds, PSE plans to issue the final RFP solicitation on October 5, 2011.  PSE expects to select a final short list and notify respondents in 1Q 2012.

PSE’s web page for the RFP (including its proposed schedule and the draft RFP itself) can be found here.

RFI for Substation-Size Li-ion Energy Storage System Demonstration Project

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Technology Transition Corporation recently issued a request for information (RFI) to prepare for multiple demonstrations and the market introduction of 1MW / 2MWh lithium ion battery energy storage systems (ESS) for electric utility grid management solutions.  EPRI and TTC have assembled a utility team for this project, and they encourage manufacturers of Li-ion systems and energy storage system integrators to respond to the RFI. The utility team will evaluate the responses to determine which ESS suppliers should be invited to a 2-day utility-manufacturer workshop to be held in June 2011 to discuss the project’s technical specification and demonstration plans.  The responses to the RFI will also influence the forthcoming Request for Proposals and the technical specification for approximately three demonstrations scheduled for 2012.

To be considered for participation in the proposed ESS project, including receipt of the resulting RFP in Q3 2011, responses must be received electronically, by 8 pm (20:00) Eastern Time, Monday, May 2, at storagespec@ttcorp.com.  A detailed description of the RFI process and the RFI response form can be found on the Technology Transition Corporation's website, here

Thanks to Emanuel Wagner, Project Coordinator for TTC, for bringing this RFI to my attention.  According to Emanuel, this would be the first Li-ion storage project of this size in the US, if not the world.  

All Party Meeting Concerning California's 2011 RPS Procurement

My partner Seth Hilton attended last Friday's all-party meeting on California's 2011 RPS procurement and prepared the following update:

On February 11, 2011, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge Burton Mattson issued a Proposed Decision (PD) conditionally accepting the 2011 Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Procurement Plans for Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E). If adopted, the Decision would set a schedule for the utilities’ 2011 RPS solicitation. The PD was on the agenda for the CPUC’s March 24, 2011 business meeting, but was held at Commissioner Florio’s request until the April 14 meeting.

On March 25, Commissioner Florio held a well-attended all-party meeting on the PD. Among the issues raised by Commissioner Florio was where California’s investor-owned utilities stood relative to the current RPS procurement targets and the targets contained in pending legislation (SBX1-2), and whether a 2011 RPS solicitation was necessary.

 

All three investor-owned utilities—PG&E, SCE and SDG&E—stated that holding a 2011 RPS solicitation would be prudent. PG&E stated that it was on track to meet the current 20% RPS this year and through 2013. However, future compliance, especially with the higher procurement targets under SBX1-2, is dependent on several large projects that are scheduled to come online in the next few years. Any delay or failure of those projects would require PG&E to procure additional resources to get to the 2016 target under SBX1-2, and therefore holding a solicitation this year made sense. 

 

According to SCE, a 2011 solicitation would be prudent for a number of reasons, not only to assist SCE to reach the goals in SBX1-2. SCE noted that a solicitation would be beneficial for current contract administration by setting the price for any replacement power and that annual RPS solicitations were important for maintaining a vigorous RPS market. 

 

SDG&E stated that it too was not done with procurement and would need further procurement to comply with the 2016 goal under SBX1-2. 

 

Other parties also advocated in favor of a 2011 solicitation, with TURN noting that there may be some bargains available to the utilities due to the fact that no RPS solicitation was held last year and that competition would be fairly robust for RPS contracts. 

 

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates was one of the few dissenters (along with CARE), arguing that because a new cost containment mechanism would apply under SBX1-2, the CPUC should consider waiting until it had addressed cost containment before commencing a new RPS solicitation. 

 

The parties also discussed various issues to be resolved by the PD, including how economic curtailment should be handled in the pro forma RPS contract, congestion adders and integration cost adders. As currently drafted, the PD would require all three utilities to amend their pro forma agreements to use the economic curtailment provisions proposed by PG&E, which would allow utilities to economically curtail projects up to five percent of the project’s expected annual generation, for which PG&E would pay the project the full contract price but would not reimburse the project for any lost production tax credits. The California Wind Energy Association noted that although it supported PG&E’s proposal, the proposal should be amended to make it clear that the cap applies to any economic curtailment caused by the utility, even if the curtailment was in fact ordered by the California Independent System Operator, and to provide for the payment of any lost production tax credits as well.

 

As for congestion adders, the PD would require the utilities to consider congestion costs when evaluating projects and order the utilities to release congestion cost information in their 2012 and future plans, so that project developers will be fully informed when making siting decisions.

 

Finally, the PD declined to allow the use of integration cost adders when evaluating bids, despite both SCE’s and SDG&E’s requests that they be permitted to do so. 

 

If you have any further questions on this all-party meeting or any other California energy regulatory issue, please contact:

Seth Hilton at (916) 319-4749 or sdhilton@stoel.com

Bill Holmes at (503) 294-9207 or whholmes@stoel.com

Jennifer Martin at (503) 294-9852 or jhmartin@stoel.com

A Unique RFP for Energy Storage

Santa Fe-based Chamisa Energy Corporation recently announced a request for proposals for up to 250MW of nameplate wind generation resources to be used to provide energy to a 135 MW or larger compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility under development in Swisher County in the Texas panhandle.  The proposed CAES facility would compress air and store it in solution-mined underground caverns.  To convert the stored potential energy back into electricity, the stored air would be released and mixed with a small amount of natural gas to drive a turbine.  The RFP describes CAES as a "bulk electric storage technology used to complement wind energy generation so that wind energy becomes a fully dispatchable resource suitable for peaking, intermediate, baseload or tolling resource." 

The energy would be provided to the facility pursuant to a power purchase agreement (PPA).  Chamisa invites wind plants located either in the Southwest Power Power (SPP) or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to respond. Chamisa will consider proposals that supply wind energy for seven years, but prefers a minimum term of 15 years.  The target date for delivering electricity to the Storage Facility is the second quarter of 2014. 

Chamisa notes that it is not aware of completed or pending PPAs between WGR and CAES facilities, and thus anticipates that the successful proposal "will be creative in its approach to the RFP."  Although the RFP isn't explicit on the point, Chamisa's plan may be to purchase energy from a wind generator or wind generators pursuant to the PPA, store the energy, and then sell the electricity and ancillary services from the facility to a third-party off-taker.  If Chamisa can take the bulk of the energy into CAES primarily in off peak hours and then sell the stored energy during on-peak hours, might in theory be able to profit on the arbitrage between the two price points, although past efforts to get grid-scale storage to pencil out on that basis have had limited success.  Alternatively, the facility may be able to profit by using the stored energy to provide ancillary services, grid congestion relief, grid stability and support for grid expansion.

In principle, the CAES facility could also be used in a tolling arrangement by which a utility or a seller of wind energy hires the CAES facility for storage, pays a reservation and storage charge to Chamisa, and then dispatches the stored energy at will--in other words, the third-party offtaker could be the same party as the generator delivering the wind energy to the facility (e.g., a utility that is buying wind energy that it wants to shift from off-peak hours to on-peak hours).  Under this structure, the party tolling electricity would retain title to the electicity being stored and could arbitrage or otherwise deploy the stored energy into the market as it saw fit.  However, a tolling transaction of that type isn't clearly called for by the RFP (although it doesn't appear to be precluded).

Regardless, Chamisa's RFP will be worth monitoring to see whether an independent storage developer can create a workable market structure for its storage assets in order to facilitate financing.  The outcome of this effort will be of great interest to developers of solar and wind resources, as well as to developers of pumped storage and other grid-scale storage solutions.

The deadline for written or email questions is March 31, 2011, and proposals are due no later than 5pm Mountain Standard Time on May 16, 2011.  If submitted by mail, proposal(s) must be postmarked May 16th.  E-mail submission is preferred.  You can access Chamisa's RFP by clicking here.

 

Washington Senate Bill has potential for eliminating state renewable energy requirements

Currently, electric utilities in Washington that serve more than 25,000 customers are required to obtain the following percentages of their electricity from new renewable resources:

  • At least 3% by January 1, 2012
  • At least 9% by January 1, 2015
  • At least 15% by January 1, 2020

This has been the case since the passage of the Washington Energy Independence Act in 2006. The current Legislature has introduced a bill which, if passed, would essentially wipe out these RPS requirements. SB 5563 -- which was introduced in the Washington State Legislature on January 31, 2011 -- plainly states its intention of “temporarily suspending provisions of the energy independence act during periods of economic downturn.” If SB 5563 passes, qualifying utilities would be deemed to have met the 2012 target and, from 2015, the target for any year in which the the Washington unemployment rate goes above six percent. Furthermore, utilities would be deemed to have met their renewable target not only for that year but for four subsequent years, regardless of the unemployment rate during the look back period.

A historical look at Washington’s unemployment rate shows that a look back period for four years would be able to eliminate the RPS standards in even the most prosperous economic times. For example, Washington state’s unemployment rate[1] for the past 20 years was below 6% during only five calendar years (1998, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) and never for more than three consecutive years. That means if SB 5563 had been in effect for the past two decades -- decades that included some of the most robust economic times this generation has known -- at no time would utilities have been required to meet the renewable energy requirements of the EIA. Given where the U.S. economy currently stands, it’s highly unlikely SB 5563 would play out any differently for the next 20 years, much less between now and 2020.

For more information on this bill including its full text, see the Washington State Legislature website.

Washington SB 5563 is sponsored by Sen. Jerome Delvin (R-8th Dist.), Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-9th Dist.), Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-16th Dist.), Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-15th Dist.), and Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35th Dist.) and was referred to the Environment, Water & Energy Committee on January 31, 2011.

[1]  Not seasonally adjusted.

Minnesota Power Announces RFP for up to 100 MW of Wind

Minnesota Power has announced a request for proposals (RFP) seeking up to 100 MW of wind generation.   Proposals must be for wind generation that is deliverable to Minnesota Power's service territory prior to the expiration of the Federal Production Tax Credit on December 31, 2012.  Minnesota Power serves northeastern Minnesota.  

Details about the RFP and a Model Power Purchase Agreement are available on Minnesota Power's website.

The deadline for submissions is 4:00 pm Central Standard Time on January 5, 2011. 

 

Maine Seeks to Assert Itself as Leader in Offshore Energy

In recent months, the State of Maine has sought the spotlight in the offshore renewable energy space.  This entry summarizes three major events that have marked the state's move toward a leadership role.

 

Maine Signs MOU with Nova Scotia

On July 12, 2010, Governor John E. Baldacci signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter to work cooperatively on renewable ocean energy development. Many similar memoranda have been signed between states and federal agencies in the United States, but this is the first that reaches beyond the Nation’s borders. The MOU states that the two governments will work together to advance tidal and offshore wind development efforts by furthering academic research in the area and establishing a formal council to “work together to shape the region’s leadership position in this important new area of renewable energy development.”  Although largely a “plan to start planning,” the MOU demonstrates the State of Maine’s desire to be on the leading edge of offshore energy policy and development.

 

ORPC Reports Successful Test of Commercial-Sized Underwater Turbine

On August 18, 2010, Ocean Renewable Power Company (“ORPC”) reported that its Beta Power System has successfully generated grid-compatible power from tidal currents. The 60 kW Turbine Generator Unit met or exceeded ORPC’s expectations for testing at a range of current velocities. The company will use the data gathered to complete the design of its 150 kW TidGen Power System, which is scheduled for installation in Eastport, Maine in late 2011, and will interconnect to the New England grid through the Bangor Hydro Electric Company system. The TidGen Power System will generate enough electricity to power 50-75 homes.

The full text of ORPC's press release can be found here.

 

Maine PUC Seeks Proposals for Offshore Wind & Tidal Energy

Following on the heels of ORPC’s announcement, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) announced on September 1, 2010, that it is seeking proposals for long-term (20-year) contracts to supply energy and renewable energy credits from one or more offshore wind energy pilot projects or tidal energy demonstration projects. The PUC is looking for a wind developer with experience relevant to the construction and operation of floating wind turbines and has the potential to construct a deep-water (300 feet or more) offshore wind energy project of at least 100 MW in the future. Any proposed tidal energy demonstration project must have a total installed generating capacity of 5 MW or less.

Proposals will be due on or before May 1, 2011.  The full text of the request for proposals ("RFP") can be found here.

 

Utah's Salt Lake County Will Announce a Solar Project RFP on May 14, 2010

On May 14, 2010, Salt Lake County, Utah will be releasing a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for a 1 MW solar project. If your company is interested in receiving the RFP as soon as it is released, you should register with BidSync (registration is free).

About the Solar Project:
It is anticipated that the initial solar project will include three County facilities (Salt Palace Convention Center, Environmental Health, and the Riverton Senior Center) with solar installations totaling approximately 1 MW. This solar project will utilize a power purchase agreement (“PPA”) financing model. It will also employ public and private capital, Federal grants, and public/private subsidized bonds that are able to work together efficiently because of the recent Stimulus Bill. The project also makes use of recent changes to Federal tax rules, and the recent re-awakening of private capital markets that make a significant public-private partnership possible. The County is working to coordinate these financial resources to make them easily accessible. More details will be available in the RFP. Longer term, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon has set a goal to install 10 MW of solar on as many county-owned facilities as possible.

PPAs and Third-Party Financing Now an Option in Utah:
In 2010, with the passage of HB 145 – Renewable Energy Financing Provisions, Utah enabled third-party financing of renewable energy systems for the following entities: a county, municipality, city, town, other political subdivision, local district, special service district, state institution of higher education, school district, charter school, or any entity within the state system of public education; an entity qualifying as a charitable organization under 26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3) operated for religious, charitable, or educational purposes that is exempt from federal income tax and able to demonstrate its tax-exempt status. Significantly, this recent legislation clarified that certain third-party financing arrangements are exempt from regulation by the Utah Public Service Commission, which is consistent with how these arrangements are viewed in several other states across the country. This clarification will now open the door for more innovative financing for renewable energy technologies, which has the ability to remove the upfront cost hurdles of capital intensive investments and offer an attractive bundle of services, including: design, installation, financing (including monetizing tax benefits), permitting and interconnection, maintenance, etc.

GVSU and MAREC Seek Partner for Met Tower in Lake Michigan

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and its Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) have issued a Request for Proposals seeking funding partners to develop an offshore research platform and wind assessment meteorological (MET) tower installation.  GVSU and MAREC have acquired $3.1 Million in grants and research monies to fund a portion of the Project.  Partners are being sought to: contribute the additional funds, expertise, and resources needed to complete the Project beyond those already committed by GVSU/MAREC and federal/state sources; design the MET Tower/Research Platform; construct the MET Tower/Research Platform (to be completed by September 1, 2011); and provide the overall operation and maintenance of the structure to support data collection and research.

A pre-proposal conference is being held at GVSU on May 3, 2010, and proposals are due June 10, 2010.

Nebraska Public Power District Wind and Renewables RFPs

The Nebraska Public Power District has two open RFPs that may be of interest to renewable energy developers. 

In Request for Proposal (RFP) 10018, the District announced that it intends to expand its power supply by adding wind-powered resources to its generation portfolio . The District seeks proposals to provide power from wind projects between 50 megawatts (MWs) and 300 MWs capacity.  The resulting PPAs would have a term of 20 years.  Bids are due by 5:00 pm Central Time on June 4, 2010.

The District also issued Request for Proposal (RFP) 10005, a separate request for energy, capacity and  environmental attributes from small renewable energy projects.  The solicitation defines a small project as one with a nameplate capacity at each location of less than ten (10) MW but greater than the maximum size allowed in the interconnecting utility’s Net Metering Policy.   Bids are due by 5:00 pm Central Time on September 1, 2010.

The District's contact for each RFP is Sarah Hopwood, Tel 402 563-5405, Fax 402 563-5034
sjhopwo@nppd.com.

Nevada State Office of Energy Seeks Renewable Energy Proposals

The Nevada State Office of Energy (“NSOE”) announced on March 16, 2010, that is it has issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for renewable energy projects under the $8M+ Revolving Loan Program. Projects must be no more than 60kW in size for solar PV and 20kW maximum for wind turbines and solar thermal. Loan terms will be less than 15 years and interest rates three percent or lower. Applicants may apply for a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of $1,645,000, and must be able to enter a loan contract prior to June 30, although projects may begin after that date. It is the intent of the RFP to approve a minimum of five applications. The solicitation may close at any time upon determination by the Director of the Nevada State Office of Energy that a sufficient number of qualified applications have been received to satisfy the needs of the RFP. If the RFP fails to produce a sufficient number of eligible applicants the Director may consider granting loans exceeding the published maximum amount.*

Interested parties should go to http://energy.nv.gov/recovery/RevolvingLoan.htm or contact Robert Nellis, Energy Program Manager at (775) 687-1850 x7304 for more information.

 

*Request For Proposal No. 0001 for ARRA Revolving Loan Program For Renewable Energy Systems Release, dated March 15, 2010.

NYPA Receives 11 Notices of Intent to Bid for Offshore Wind Projects

The New York Power Authority stated today that it has received eleven (11) Notices of Intent to Bid into its RFP for offshore wind projects in Lakes Erie and Ontario.  Formal proposals are due June 1.  For more information, see my previous blog entry on NYPA's plans.

RFP for Renewable Resources.

NV Energy issued its Spring 2010 Request for Proposals seeking new renewable resources.  NV Energy hopes to use the RFP to meet its RPS requirement of serving 12% of retail load with renewable energy in 2010.  Bidders should also be aware that NV Energy's non-refundable bid deposits have changed:  projects 10 MW of larger must submit a $10,000 deposit ($7,500 if the same facility was bid into the 2009 RFP); projects under 10 MW must submit a $5,000 deposit ($3,500 if the same project was bid into the 2009 RFP).  Responses to the RFP are due April 16.

 

Details regarding NV Energy's Spring 2010 RFP can be found by clicking here.

Southern California Public Power Authority RFP

Here's a new opportunity for renewable energy developers.  The Southern California Public Power Authority has issued a request for proposals seeking renewable energy generation "with supporting infrastructure(s) as structured projects through (i) facility ownership; or (ii) power purchase agreement with ownership option(s), in one or more facilities."  SCPPA is a California joint powers authority that plans to purchase an undivided equity share in facilities, issue tax-exempt debt financing, and sell output at cost to its municipal utility members.  SCPPA will also consider straight or pre-pay power purchase agreements that include a facility purchase option.

Responses are due May 28, 2010.  Follow the link for the solicitation materials: www.scppa.org/Downloads/RFP/Renewable_Energy_Projects_052810.pdf