United States

United States

Colorado set to reopen bidding

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Enron Wind and a firm called TMA Global Wind Energy Systems are among companies that submitted proposals to Public Service Co of Colorado in response to a Request For Proposals (RFP), only to be informed that PSCo, short on firm power bids, wants to initiate another round of bidding. TMA, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is non too pleased.

"We had to meet all kinds of deadlines as original bidders. We worked on it for months," says the company's Shannon Murphy. "Now they are saying, because they didn't receive bids for enough sustained power, they will put it out to bid and invite more wind power people in. It's unscrupulous." TMA offered 20 MW of power using a vertical-axis wind turbine model (page 18).

Enron Wind offered two 100 MW projects, says the company's Mary McCann. Last month it was waiting for a decision from PSCo. Enron, TMA and other intervenors are now trying to reach a settlement with the utility in an integrated resource planning case before the Colorado Public Service Commission. Murphy says the wind industry wants PSCo to allocate 10% of the next RFP to wind power.

The utility's decision was not designed to snub wind power developers, stresses PSCo's Chuck Rhodes. He says the need to seek new bidders was prompted in part by unexpected power shortages in the summer that forced the utility to implement rolling blackouts (Windpower Monthly, September 1998). PSCo decided it needed 953 MW of new power in 2001, rather than 392 MW. And it wants to initiate a new round of bidding because it did not receive enough bids for firm power. "We need 700 MW in less than two years, which is very challenging," he says. "Even if we had gotten enough firm resources, we would still have to issue a second RFP." The Colorado Public Service Commission will decide whether the company can begin the bidding process anew.

The first RFP, issued as part of the company's integrated resource planning process, sought five different types of resources, including renewable, says Rhodes. The company received two bids for conventional resources, 13 bids for renewables, two for purchased power and three for demand-side management.

The Colorado Office of Energy Conservation argued in hearings before the Public Service Commission that the company unfairly restricted the pool of bidders. The RFP included too many restrictions, says the office's Jay Brizie. "We are very interested in getting the next round of bidding to be conducted in a fair way that attracts the widest possible participation of bidders. Aggressive participation will lead to a best cost and a best balance of resources," he says.

The Colorado Public Service Commission will decide the fate of the RFP. "At this point, we can't promise any wind will win," says Rhodes. "A lot is up in the air right now."

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