The West Virginia Public Service Commission on Jan. 28 approved a recent application from the Appalachian Power Co. (APCo) unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) for approval to issue a request for proposals for new wind capacity.
In December 2014, the commission had entered an order based upon a joint stipulation that resulted from a proposal relating to the future capacity and energy requirements and resources of Wheeling Power, which is a sister utility to APCo. In that stipulation, the parties agreed that, as a condition of the transfer to Wheeling Power of half of the Mitchell coal plant, if Wheeling Power or APCo requires additional long-term capacity and energy to meet the future needs of West Virginia customers, on the next occasion on which APCo or Wheeling Power Company seeks energy and capacity in excess of 100 MW for their West Virginia customers, APCo or Wheeling Power would issue an RFP for such energy and capacity.
On Dec. 4, 2015, APCo filed a petition seeking commission approval of a request to issue a RFP for additional energy and capacity. APCo stated that it plans to issue its 2016 Wind RFP for 150 MW of wind power to be in service as of Dec. 31, 2017. APCo further stated that it intends to require potential bidders to prequalify to participate in the 2016 Wind RFP and that it will submit any contract resulting from the RFP to the West Virginia commission and also to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for appropriate regulatory approval. APCo stated that it plans to issue the 2016 Wind RFP on Feb. 12, 2016.
On Dec. 30, 2015, APCo filed its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the West Virginia commission. On Jan. 8, 2016, commission staff filed its Initial and Final Joint Staff Memorandum. Staff noted that the 40 MW minimum reflected in the RFP is intended to ensure an economy of scale and to allow existing wind power producers to bid on the RFP. Staff further noted that the focus on wind generation is intended to aid compliance with the U.S. EPA’s CO2-reducing Clean Power Plan, with consideration to the costs. Staff stated that the commission must approve any proposed purchase power agreement resulting from the RFP. Staff further stated that APCo should cast its net more widely when designing future RFPs for power to allow more diverse sources of power to participate in the process. Staff recommended that the commission grant the APCo petition to issue its 2016 Wind RFP.
Said the Jan. 28 PSC order: “The Commission has reviewed the APCo Petition to issue the RFP and will approve the petition without approving the specific terms and conditions stated therein. APCo will be required to seek separate Commission approval to enter into any purchased power agreement or acquisition of generation resulting from the RFP.”
Appalachian Power said Jan. 5 that it has issued pre-qualification documents for parties interested in bidding on an upcoming RFP for up to 150 MW of wind power. The RFP will seek proposals that would allow Appalachian to own one or more wind projects or purchase the output from wind projects under one or more 20-year renewable energy purchase agreements.
Pre-qualification forms must be returned by Jan. 29. Pre-qualified bidders will be notified by Feb. 12, the same day that they are expected to receive the RFP. Final proposals will be due April 1.
The wind project of a pre-qualified bidder must be located within Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio or Pennsylvania, be interconnected to the PJM Interconnection system, and have a minimum nameplate rating of 40 MW. The project must be commercially operational by Dec. 31, 2017. The project must have started construction after Jan. 1, 2013.