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In Quest for Viable Solar, This Utility Is Adding Storage to Its RFP

image credit: Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Appalachian Power issued a second Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 200 megawatts (MW) of solar energy resources. The company’s original RFP issued in late 2018 resulted in no viable projects.

The new RFP includes a minimum bid size of 10 MW, extends the operational date to December 2022 and offers developers the option of including a battery energy storage system (BESS) with their proposal.

Virginia Senate Bill 966, passed in 2018, requires the American Electric Power business unit to build or acquire solar resources before 2028. If the RFP results in suitable projects, then the company will seek regulatory approval for them in Virginia and West Virginia.

Under the recently issues RFP, Appalachian Power said it may acquire one or more solar facilities from winning bidders that meet economic and operational criteria. Qualifying projects must be operational by Dec. 15, 2022 and qualify for the federal Investment Tax Credit.

To qualify for consideration, projects must be located in Virginia, have a minimum project size of 10 MW and be interconnected to Appalachian Power’s Virginia distribution system or PJM, the independent regional transmission organization.

To be considered viable, a proposal’s pricing must include the utility’s acquisition of a turnkey project that is a complete, commercially operable and integrated solar-powered electric generating plant designed for at least a 30-year service life. That minimum extends to solar modules, inverters, power stations, balance of plant equipment, operations and maintenance facilities, SCADA and other facilities required to deliver energy into the Appalachian Power distribution system or PJM. In addition, pricing must include costs for title insurance and construction financing.

Last May, Appalachian Power filed its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Virginia State Corporation Commission outlining how the company would meet load obligations over the next 15 years.

The plan addressed mandates from the General Assembly’s 2018 Virginia Act including construction of 200 MW of in-state utility-owned solar, $140 million in energy efficiency programs and potential investment in up to 10 MW of new battery storage installations.

The IRP said the utility would continue to rely on fossil-fueled generation, but add more renewable resources, energy efficiency programs and other innovations.

The company’s preferred plan included:

• The assumed availability by 2021 of planned 15 MW solar facility;

• The addition of 300 MW of wind energy by 2023; no additional wind before 2033;

• The addition of 450 MW utility scale solar by 2028, 1,500 MW by 2033;

• The addition of 10 MW of battery storage resources by 2021;

• The implementation of energy efficiency programs reducing energy requirements by 121 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and summer capacity by 114 MW by 2033;

• The assumed addition of 82 MW of customer-owned distributed generation, primarily rooftop solar, by 2033; and

• Continued operation of existing coal and gas-fueled generating plants, hydro-electric facilities, and wind resources; and the expected retirement of Clinch River Units 1 and 2 in 2026.

Appalachian Power said it no longer owns or operates coal-fired generation plants in Virginia. Its last coal plant was converted to natural gas and it operates six hydro-electric generating dams in the state. The utility also operates fossil-fueled plants in West Virginia and Ohio.

DW Keefer's picture

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 28, 2020 2:20 pm GMT

The company’s original RFP issued in late 2018 resulted in no viable projects.

Any insight into what the proposals were in 2018 that were deemed inadequate, or did they not actually get any submissions to their specifications?

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