United States

United States

PacifiCorp's strategic call for under 100 MW proposals

A request for proposals (RFP) issued by PacifiCorp in February contained a seemingly curious qualifier. The utility, based in Portland, Oregon, but also serving customers in Washington, California, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, is seeking renewable resources that are either less than 100 MW or, if greater than 100 MW, only for a term of less than five years. But, according to the company's Jan Mitchell, the explanation is simple. "We see a lot of potential in the market for the smaller renewable resources," Mitchell says. "Our goal is to get more renewables online quicker." Mitchell notes that a legislative restriction in Utah, one of the states PacifiCorp serves, requires that projects larger than 100 MW intending to contract power sales for more than five years need to pass the scrutiny of regulating commissions and an independent evaluator. "This particular RFP is mainly for short-term projects," Mitchell says. "And these are smaller projects that wouldn't need to go through that review threshold." Proposals were due at the end of March. The company expects to complete evaluations by May 9 and complete final agreements with project developers by the end of June. Meantime, the company is developing an RFP for larger projects. "That one will be a bigger request for larger system-wide resources," Mitchell says. "And it will go to the commissions for review before it's issued. But that won't be for a couple months." Could the overall plan indicate that the company is thinking about how better to integrate wind power into its system? "If it is, it's not as much of a reason as trying to get started on some of the smaller projects while we're still in the process of preparing the larger RFP," Mitchell says. PacifiCorp serves 1.7 million customers.

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