By Editors of Power Engineering
Platte River Power Authority Wednesday issued a request for proposals for at least 20 MW of new solar energy capacity that could be added to its system, which serves Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland. The RFP also called for up to 5 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.
“Our municipal owners and their customers want additional carbon-free energy resources when it makes sense,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River. “We believe we can provide customers with more solar power at very reasonable costs while maintaining our strong standards for reliability.”
In its RFP, Platte River said it would consider proposals for a long-term power purchase agreement for solar projects that could be built and operational between June 2019 and the end of 2021. The request stipulated any qualifying project would need to connect to Platte River’s transmission system, such as at its Rawhide Energy station substation. Platte River also expressed strong interest for technologies that could store up to 5 megawatt-hours of energy.
The energy produced from the solar installation would be used as part of a community solar program in which the power would be made available to Platte River’s owner communities to be offered to customers.
“Prices for battery technology are coming down and we are very interested in benefiting not only from cost savings but also the operational experience that we could use on a larger scale down the road,” said Frisbie.
Approximately 30 percent of the energy that Platte River currently delivers to its owner communities comes from carbon-free resources, including wind and solar generation. In January, Platte River announced it had signed a long-term PPA for 150 megawatts of new wind power that, when operational, could elevate its noncarbon generating portfolio to approximately 48 percent.
An additional 20 MW of new solar capacity would provide enough energy to power approximately 4,000 homes bringing our non-carbon portfolio to nearly 50 percent. Battery storage, if added, would help Platte River to continue providing energy from the installation for a short period of time, after the Sun goes down, if clouds block the Sun’s rays or to help balance the intermittency of other renewable energy sources. It may also be used to help meet peak load demand for a short period of time without forcing Platte River to deploy other fossil fuel resources.
To bid on the project, proposals need to be delivered to Platte River no later than 4 p.m. Mountain time Friday, March 30. A copy of the RFP can be found on the Platte River website.