Battery storage vital to Platte River’s latest RFP

250 MW of new solar generating capacity sought

Platte River Power Authority this week issued a request for proposals (RFP) to obtain up to 250 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic solar generating capacity that could begin producing noncarbon energy by 2025.

The RFP calls for the largest amount of new, noncarbon generating capacity to date and encourages any proposed project to include a battery energy storage component. The request also enables bidders to propose installations that could interconnect anywhere on Platte River’s transmission system, including the distribution systems in the owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland.

“As we continue to work toward achieving the Resource Diversification Policy goal, our ongoing challenge will be to maintain Platte River’s core pillars to safely provide reliable, environmentally responsible and financially sustainable energy and services during a time of rapidly improving technology and resource costs,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River. “We need to proactively manage the intermittency of renewables as we continue to diversify our portfolio in preparation for a future without dispatchable coal resources.”

The Resource Diversification Policy was adopted by Platte River’s Board of Directors in 2018. The policy calls for leadership to pursue a 100% noncarbon energy mix by 2030, provided the organization’s core pillars are upheld. In 2020, Platte River maintained 100% transmission system reliability and provided power to its owner communities at the lowest wholesale rates in Colorado. With an additional 250 MW of solar generating capacity, Platte River estimates its overall annual energy production will be approximately 54% noncarbon.

According to the solicitation, developers are encouraged to consider proposing projects that could interconnect with Platte River’s transmission system, including regions in northwest Colorado and the northern Front Range. Particular consideration may also be granted to smaller projects (25 megawatts or less) that could connect to the distribution systems of one or all of Platte River’s owner communities. Within each project proposed, developers are encouraged to include a battery energy storage component capable of providing 100% of the project’s nameplate capacity for at least four hours and be dispatchable by Platte River when needed.

“Connecting solar and battery storage on both the transmission and distribution systems will improve reliability and further advance our strategy of system integration,” added Frisbie. “The goal is to have distributed energy resources in every owner community.”

Proposals are due Feb. 18, 2022, after which Platte River will develop a short list of potential projects that add up to approximately 250 megawatts and sign power purchase agreements later in the year.

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Platte River Power Authority is a not-for-profit, community-owned public power utility that generates and delivers safe, reliable, environmentally responsible and financially sustainable energy and services to Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado, for delivery to their utility customers. For more information, visit prpa.org.

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