Maine PUC Issues Distributed Solar Procurement Announcement
The Maine PUC, in partnership with its consultant Enel X, has issued a procurement announcement for the first block of distributed generation under Maine’s distributed generation law passed last summer. The procurement is open to projects of 5 MW AC or less.
In total, the Maine PUC may approve contracts for up to 250 MW of shared distributed generation projects and 125 MW of commercial and institutional customer (C&I) projects across five procurement blocks. In the first block, the PUC will be seeking 50 MW of shared distributed generation projects and 25 MW of C&I projects. These projects may be located anywhere in the service territory of Maine’s two investor-owned utilities, CMP and Emera Maine.
The procurement will result in a single price applicable to all projects in the first block of the procurement for each project category. The price will be equal to the final bid offer rate accepted for the applicable block.
For example, assume 10 projects are accepted in the shared distributed generation category with the following bid offer rates:
Projects 1-3 (5 MW each): 15MW total at 15 cents/kWh
Project 4-6 (5 MW each): 15 MW total at 17 cents/kWh
Projects 7-9 (5 MW each): 15 MW total at 18 cents/kWh
Project 10: 5 MW total at 19 cents/kWh
Because Project 10 has the highest successful bid offer rate in the procurement block, the price applicable to all projects in the procurement block would be 19 cents/kWh.
Projects will be scored based on two broad categories: (1) bid offer rate and (2) project attributes. The bid offer rate will account for 90% of a project’s total score and project attributes will account for 10% of the score.
The bid offer rate refers to the price for the output of the facility, which includes both the energy, renewable energy credits, and all environmental attributes generated by the project. Projects located on previously developed or impacted land will be evaluated at 90% of their bid offer rate. The project with the lowest bid offer rate will receive a score of 90 points. The bid offer rate of all other projects will be evaluated based on the formula:
(Lowest Bid Offer Rate (after adjustment)) / (Bid Offer Rate (after adjustment)) x 90 = Bid Offer Rate Score
The attribute score includes 9 different siting attributes and 3 value-added attributes. The siting attributes are designed to minimize the environmental and land use impact of a project and were developed in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Land Use Planning Commission, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The siting attributes are distinct from the modified bid offer rate that applies in the case a project is sited on previously developed or impacted land.
The value-added attributes include: (1) projects that provide benefits to the distribution system, (2) projects with energy storage, and (3) projects that include tracking capabilities.
The attribute score is determined based on the number of attributes applicable to a project. The project with the highest number of attributes will receive an attribute score of 10. All other projects will receive an attribute score based on a formula similar to that applied to the bid offer rate scoring.
The bid offer rate score and the attribute score will be totaled for each project. The Maine PUC will then accept the highest scored projects in descending order until the procurement block is full.
The Maine PUC may choose to accept more than 50 MW if it determines that doing so would be in the public interest. It may also accept less than 50 MW if it determines that the solicitation is not competitive for the full amount of the procurement block.
The procurement requires a two-step qualification process. The first step requires prospective bidders to demonstrate they are qualified to participate in the program. The PUC will confirm which bidders are qualified to participate by April 2, 2020. The second step requires qualified bidders to submit specific projects for qualification. The PUC will confirm which projects are qualified for bidding by June 5, 2020.
Bidding will be open from July 1 – July 30, 2020 and awards will be issued on August 31, 2020.
For more information about the procurement process, please contact Verrill’s Energy Group.