Distributed Energy Resources

Platte River RFP calls for solar power, storage proposals

Colorado-based Platte River Power Authority on Feb. 21 issued a request for proposals for at least 20 megawatts of new solar energy capacity that could be added to its system. The RFP also calls for up to 5 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.

In the RFP, Platte River said it would consider proposals for a long-term power purchase agreement for solar projects that could be built and operational between June 2019 and the end of 2021.  Any qualifying project will need to connect to Platte River’s transmission system, such as at its Rawhide Energy station substation.

Platte River also expressed strong interest for technologies that could store up to 5 MWh of energy.

The energy produced from the solar installation would be used as part of a community solar program in which the power would be made available to Platte River’s owner communities to be offered to customers.

“Prices for battery technology are coming down and we are very interested in benefiting not only from cost savings but also the operational experience that we could use on a larger scale down the road,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River.

Approximately 30 percent of the energy that Platte River currently delivers to its owner communities comes from carbon-free resources, including wind and solar generation.

In January, Platte River announced it had signed a long-term PPA for 150 MW of new wind power that, when operational, could elevate its noncarbon generating portfolio to approximately 48 percent. The wind power will serve its four owner municipalities in Colorado -- Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland. 

Platte River said an additional 20 MW of new solar capacity would bring its non-carbon portfolio to nearly 50 percent.

Proposals in response to the RFP will be due by 4 p.m. Mountain time on March 30.

Colorado utility’s RFP drew renewable/storage proposals

Investor-owned Xcel Energy’s Colorado utility received “unprecedented” offers for about 112,000 megawatts that include low pricing for various renewable energy and battery projects in response to a solicitation.

An energy storage analyst said he was particularly struck by the fact that there were as many MW of storage paired with renewables projects as there were solar- or wind-only projects.

SRP encouraged renewable energy bids with storage

Meanwhile, another western public power utility, Arizona’s Salt River Project, in January issued a RFP for 100 MW of new renewable energy. SRP encouraged bids for renewable energy projects that include a battery storage component. In early 2017, SRP unveiled a 20-year power purchase agreement for a grid-scale, integrated solar and battery project in Pinal County, Arizona.

Other western utilities are following a similar path in terms of including storage as part of renewable energy solicitations.

In early January, investor-owned NV Energy issued a RFP that could add up to 330 MW of new renewable energy projects to be built in Nevada.

The utility said that it would, for the first time, consider adding supplemental battery energy storage systems that would be integrated with the proposed renewable energy resource. NV Energy said that supplemental battery energy storage systems of at least 25 MW could be proposed in addition to renewable energy projects.

Mass. public power utility signs solar plus storage PPA

Pairing renewables with storage is also being pursued in other parts of the country.

Sterling Municipal Light Department in Massachusetts recently signed a power purchase agreement for a community solar project paired with energy storage.

The project developer, Origis Energy USA, says it is the first solar-plus-storage project in Massachusetts.

Association recently issued storage report

Learn more about the latest trends and technology in energy storage in Understanding Energy Storage: Technology, Costs, and Potential Value.

The American Public Power Association report provides an overview of storage technologies, services, and economics, and gives examples of what states and public power utilities are doing to develop storage infrastructure.