PacifiCorp RFP ‘a big deal’ for renewable energy, battery storage developers

first_imgPacifiCorp RFP ‘a big deal’ for renewable energy, battery storage developers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Utility group PacifiCorp is about to open a gusher of opportunity for wind, solar and energy storage developers in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions.Last year utility PacifiCorp finalized a landmark integrated resource plan (IRP) that for the first time envisions it relying on large amounts of wind farms and solar backed by energy storage to meet its long-range energy needs. Now the utility, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, is preparing a solicitation for projects to meet that plan’s needs through 2024, taking a concrete step toward its vision.PacifiCorp’s new all-source request for proposals “is a big deal,” said Spencer Gray, executive director of the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition, a trade group with members including EDF Renewable Energy, Invenergy, Constellation Exelon, Shell Energy North America and others. While many details still need to be worked out before the RFP’s anticipated opening in July, “from our perspective, this is a major shift in the region,” Gray said in a Friday interview.For renewables developers, several things stand about PacifiCorp’s upcoming solicitation, said Gray. First and most obviously, “it’s just so large,” he said. PacifiCorp’s IRP preferred portfolio includes 1,823 megawatts of new solar resources co-located with 595 megawatts of new battery energy storage system capacity, and 1,920 megawatts of new wind resources — all by the end of 2023.Another point about the IRP stands out for renewables developers: PacifiCorp itself isn’t proposing to build any projects itself that could undermine independent developers’ projects. That stands in contrast to how some utilities are operating in other regions as they grow more comfortable building and owning solar and wind plants. Instead, PacifiCorp intends to seek out projects that will either build and transfer their assets to PacifiCorp to rate-base them, or provide energy and capacity through power purchase agreements (PPAs), Gray said. “Having a mix is important for retaining the diversity of resources in the region.”PacifiCorp already has a significant amount of wind power on its system, as well as several large-scale solar projects. But this is the first time that it has sought solar power and energy storage as a cost-competitive alternative to natural gas for new resources. The emphasis on storage-backed solar is driven by two key factors, First, as part of its responsibility for providing reliability across the multi-state transmission network it serves, “we did need some incremental flexible capacity across the system,” and “those ended up as battery storage projects.” Second, batteries paired with solar are eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power, making them more cost-effective than standalone storage projects, he said.[Jeff St. John]More: PacifiCorp readies huge solicitation for renewables, energy storagelast_img

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