US state launches RFP for 400 MW renewable projects

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US state launches RFP for 400 MW renewable projects

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The Narragansett Electric Company (NEC), an electric distribution company serving customers in Rhode Island (USA) and a subsidiary of UK utility National Grid, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the supply of energy as well as Renewable Energy Certificates and related attributes from up to 400 MW renewable energy projects.

Eligible projects must have a nameplate capacity of at least 20 MW each, not exceeding 200 MW, pursuant to executed PPAs with durations of 10 to 15 years. Eligible technologies include solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, hydrogen fuel cells, and waste-to-energy.

Furthermore, eligible projects must have neither begun operation, nor have secured any investment or lending arrangements necessary to finance construction. Projects do not have to be located in Rhode Island, but must provide substantial direct economic benefits to the state, such as job creation or property tax revenues.

Proposals must be submitted before 29 October 2018. NEC plans to select bidders for negotiation by 2 May 2019, with contracts to be signed by 29 July. Although, the agreed PPAs for successful projects will have to be reviewed by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission before construction can begin.

Other Rhode Island utilities, the Pascoag Utility District (PUD) and the Block Island Power Company (BIPCo), may be invited by NEC to purchase a portion of the energy and RECs from any selected projects.

NEC is issuing this competitive RFP to support the state governor’s goal of increasing Rhode Island’s clean energy portfolio ten-fold by 2020.

This tender follows Rhode Island's surprise procurement earlier this year of 400 MW offshore wind through the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP. The state government participated in the solicitation without making its intentions known publicly, acting on a clause in the procurement rules that allowed other states in the region to join in if they wanted to. The selected bidder, Deepwater Wind, is currently in negotiations with NEC.

It also follows similar open-ended renewable tenders in neighboring northeastern states. Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the results of its Clean Energy RFP in June, procuring 200 MW offshore wind, 52 MW (450,011 MWh) fuel cells and a 1.6 MW (10,519 MWh) anaerobic digestion facility. In March, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded contracts for 26 large-scale renewable energy projects with over 1,380 MW total generation capacity.

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