Glendale Water & Power issues RFP for repowering project alternatives

California public power utility Glendale Water & Power (GWP) on May 4 issued a request for proposals that seeks to evaluate “the feasibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of implementing a portfolio of local and regional clean energy solutions” in lieu of some or all of a proposed repowering project.

In the RFP, GWP notes that its local generation comes from the natural gas-fired Grayson Power Plant in Glendale and the natural gas-fired Magnolia Power Plant in Burbank. All but one of the units of the Grayson Power Plant are well beyond their retirement age and are expected to retire or go offline by the early 2020s. The remaining Unit 9 has a capacity of 48 MW.

In 2014, GWP initiated the development of an Integrated Resource Plan to develop a strategy for meeting the city’s power supply needs and to ensure compliance with state mandates for the near term. The IRP included a review of the enhancement of GWP’s renewable portfolio standard and the further pursuit of clean energy, enhancement of GWP’s transmission capacity and the future disposition of the Grayson Power Plant.

The latter issue included options ranging from “No Project” (running the plant to failure) to a 250 MW repowering utilizing gas fueled generators or thermal generation, GWP said. The Glendale City Council ultimately directed the pursuit of the design, engineering, environmental review and evaluation of financing options for a 250-MW facility.

Along with a 262 MW repowering project, other options were presented for the city council’s consideration that included less thermal generation combined with storage options. The presentation to the city council included options of 191 MW and 131MW of thermal generation, respectively, with each of the options utilizing 50 MW/200MWh of battery storage.

On April 10, 2018, the city council directed the issuance of a 90-day Request for Information to solicit proposals for clean energy solutions as an alternative to the proposed 262-MW repowering project and the project options and alternatives presented to the city council. The May 4 RFP was issued in accordance with the city council’s direction.

Purpose of RFP

GWP said the purpose of the RFP is to solicit proposals for clean energy project options for potential incorporation into GWP’s integrated power supply portfolio. “These project option(s) will ideally incorporate sound alternatives that further GWP’s efforts to meet state clean energy mandates, which are environmentally sustainable, and which ensure reliable, efficient and cost-effective power provision to our customers now and into the future.”

GWP said that there is no restriction on the types of projects, processes or methodologies. However, GWP is seeking solutions that will enable it to integrate the maximum amount of renewable, zero-carbon, and/or low-carbon energy and minimize the amount of fossil fuel generation in GWP’s portfolio.

Local energy technologies for consideration may also include various types of demand flexibility (demand response), energy efficiency, behind-the-meter solar and storage, and/or portfolios of resources aggregated into a virtual power plant concept.

GWP said that proposed projects must ensure that energy service meets reliability requirements and complies with reserve requirements, “ensures that GWP has the ability to meet peak load, has resources that can be readily dispatched, and must provide energy at competitive rates.”

The utility said that reliability “is an absolute requirement that cannot be compromised in any manner and consequently all proposals must take into account this key factor.”

The city is seeking proposals that will do a number of things, the solicitation noted. For example, projects will need to go online in sufficient time to meet projected service area wide electricity shortages that are projected to occur in the early 2020s, when all of the units of the Grayson Power Plant except Unit 9 are expected to face shutdowns or retirements. All proposed projects will need to be developed, designed, constructed/installed and commissioned for service by no later than April 2021.

Proposals are also being sought that provide highly-efficient generation or demand-side reductions/flexibility “to maintain reasonable cost of generation and to minimize the impact on customer electric rates and help manage costs of delivering energy to the city’s customers.”

Local projects

Distributed energy resources, non-wires alternatives and VPPs are emerging clean energy technologies that are becoming increasingly cost-effective relative to traditional utility supply-side investments, GWP said.

These projects are encouraged because of the significant need of GWP and their ability to realize delivery without transmission limitations, the solicitation document noted.

For example, solar on commercial building rooftops producing electricity fed into the GWP system or interruptible load from cold storage facilities are local projects of interest to GWP.

In order to help facilitate resource development within Glendale, where feasible, the city will be making available its facilities to proposers as potential sites for projects that will further GWP’s objectives.

Regional projects

Regional projects are also encouraged if firm transmission can be furnished as outlined in the RFP. Regional projects will be recognized for the full value they provide to the GWP system including resource and spatial diversity. Transmission losses and reliability will also weigh into the evaluation process, GWP said.

The bidders’ solution or solutions will be evaluated according to several criteria outlined in the RFP.

GWP noted that the city of Glendale values proposals which demonstrate: 1) feasibility of rapid deployment, 2) reliability of the resource, 3) value to ratepayers relative to other alternatives and 4) environmental performance.

“Bidders are expected to make firm commitments as to the reliable energy and capacity performance of their proposed resource solution,” GWP said.

Responses to the RFP are due Aug. 3, 2018 and the solicitation is available here.