Transmission developers respond to clean energy RFP in New England

Developers of two transmission projects in New England, Northern Pass Transmission and Vermont Green Line, touted their respective projects Jan. 28 as the best alternative in response to a joint request for proposals (RFP) for clean energy from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Jan. 28 was the date for submissions to the RFP, which was issued Nov. 12, 2015, by the three states and sought renewable resources under various terms and amounts to meet the respective states’ needs. While the RFP sought generation proposals, it also invited bids from transmission projects in recognition that some generation bids may require new transmission lines to deliver their output.

Anbaric Transmission and National Grid teamed up in 2014 to develop the Vermont Green Line, which is designed as a 60-mile transmission line to link Beekmantown, N.Y., with New Haven, Vt., that would be capable of delivering 400 MW.

The two companies have joined forces with renewable project developer Invenergy LLC to put together what they dubbed “The Wind and Hydro Response” to the RFP, with Invenergy planning to build a wind power project – the Bull Run Energy Center – as part of the proposal.

The Bull Run Energy Center is planned to be located about 20 miles northwest of Plattsburgh, N.Y., and could deliver up to 400 MW, the companies said in a Jan. 28 statement.

As GenerationHub has reported, Invenergy had already planned to build the Bull Run Energy Center, filing initial plans ahead of an application to the New York State Public Service Commission. Those plans included a 230-kV switchyard adjacent to the New York Power Authority’s Ryan–Plattsburgh 230-kV transmission line and an overhead 230-kV interconnection line about four miles long.

The wind energy in the proposal would be supplemented with up to 400 MW of hydropower supplied over the existing transmission grid by Hydro-Québec, the companies said.

Invenergy is pleased to work with Hydro-Québec, Anbaric and National Grid, as “combining wind generation with firming hydro will positively transform energy supply in the region,” Kevin Parzyck, vice president of development at Invenergy, said in the statement.

“We believe that our combined track record of success will prove to be a clear differentiator as we submit our response” to the RFP, added Edward Krapels, CEO of Anbaric.

Hydro-Québec is one of the two companies developing the Northern Pass project, along with Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES), and both companies are ready to solve New England’s clean energy challenges by building the transmission line, they said in a joint statement.

“Our proposal offers the cleanest, most reliable and cost-effective energy product in the marketplace today," Tom May, chairman, CEO and president of Eversource, said in the statement.

The Northern Pass project, which is in the middle of the siting process and projected to be in service in May 2019, would deliver 1,090 MW of hydropower from Hydro-Québec over a high-voltage transmission line from the Des Cantons substation in Quebec to Deerfield, N.H., the companies said.

The bid in response to the RFP includes a fixed construction price of $1.6bn, with the project seeking recovery of a portion of that cost from utilities participating in the solicitation. New Hampshire customers will not pay for the construction of the project, Eversource and Hydro-Québec said.

The fixed construction price bid is the result of agreements reached with strategic partners, including Quanta Services, who would serve as the general contractor and assume the construction risk, the companies said.

"Hydro-Québec has been a major participant and ally in the New England market for decades now but we can do more, through the guaranteed deliveries that are being proposed in this bid, to help the region meet its greenhouse reduction goals," Eric Martel, CEO of Hydro-Québec, said in the statement.

According to the timeline associated with the RFP, the selection of bidders will take place between April 26 and July 26, with utilities in the three states executing contracts from June 23 through Sept. 22.