Powering Strong Communities
Distributed Energy Resources

Platte River Power Authority Issues RFP for Virtual Power Plant Software Technology

Platte River Power Authority issued a request for proposals on May 29 to obtain virtual power plant technology that could manage distributed energy resources for Platte River’s four owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Loveland.

Once implemented, the virtual power plant will have the potential to manage up to 25 megawatts by 2030.

A virtual power plant consists of distributed energy resources such as distributed generation, distributed storage and flexible loads -- like electric vehicles and air conditioning -- that can be controlled through advanced software to provide capacity and energy services to the grid, much like a conventional power plant, Platte River noted.

These resources can be located on the distribution system or within customer premises and can be owned by customers, the owner communities, Platte River or third parties.

“While virtual power plants are an emerging resource and still in development, they offer many promising solutions,” Platte River said.

“As Platte River continues pursuing the resource diversification policy that directs us to work toward a 100% noncarbon energy future, we have diligently collaborated with our owner communities on a roadmap for distributed energy resources,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River. “With this RFP, we take a major step toward enabling system integration with our owner communities and their customers.”

The RFP includes two components:

  • Scope A includes the software systems to allow for distributed energy resource integration in Platte River’s four owner communities. Central to this technology is a distributed energy resource management system that provides coordinated management of distributed energy resources by Platte River and its owner communities.
  • Scope B includes the customer programs that will be implemented in partnership with the distribution utilities to allow customers to participate in the virtual power plant, leveraging flexible assets on the customer side and supporting customers to use devices most effectively.

“Connecting resources on the customer side into the Platte River system with the partnership of our distribution utilities will further advance our strategy of system integration,” says Raj Singam Setti, chief operating officer, innovation and resource strategy integration for Platte River. “The goal is to have distributed energy resources in every owner community to better align the load to future renewable generation.”

In the years since its board of directors adopted the Resource Diversification Policy, Platte River has taken many steps to advance the clean energy transition, including adding new renewable resources and battery energy storage systems, joining a real-time energy dispatch market, committing to join a full regional transmission organization by 2026, and collaborating with its owner communities to build the foundations for a virtual power plant.

During its May 30 board meeting, Platte River’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support a resolution for a virtual power plant, recognizing it as a key component of the utility’s energy transition.

Vendors have until July 18 to submit proposals, after which Platte River and the owner communities will evaluate proposals.

The goal is to award one or more contracts by the end of this year.