NV Energy PURPA-sly requests 50 MW in solar proposals

NV Energy has issued a request-for-proposal (RFP) for 50 MW of utility-scale solar to comply with a Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) requirement under The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978.

The RFP splits the 50 MW equally between the southern and northern sections of the state and seeks Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-defined “qualifying facilities” (QF) which are defined as generating resources that increase efficiency for utilities and provide equitable retail rates for electric consumers. To qualify, facilities must produce 80 MW or less of electricity with renewable sources as the primary energy source.

Winning bids will be announced on Oct. 19 and will be for 25 years. All QFs will be Nevada-based

PURPA was passed at the height of the oil crisis of the 1970s, with predictions at the time that oil prices would reach $100 per barrel or more. In response, Congress passed PURPA reduce dependence on foreign oil, to promote alternative energy sources and energy efficiency, and to diversify the electric power industry. It effectively broke the utilities’ monopoly on owning electric-generating plants and created a market for independent power producers, which according to the Union of Concerned Scientists accounts for 7% of the country’s power.

The schedule for the 2017 PURPA/Qualifying Facilities RFP is as follows (subject to change):

  • June 14, 2017 – Issue 2017 PURPA/Qualifying Facilities RFP
  • July 6, 2017 – Bids due
  • Aug. 10, 2017 – Initial Short List determined
  • Aug. 15, 2017 – Best and Final pricing due
  • Aug. 31, 2017 – Final Short-List determined
  • Aug. 31, 2017 to October 19, 2017 – Contract negotiations
  • Oct. 19, 2017 – Execution of Contracts
  • Nov. 16, 2017 – Submit to PUCN for review and approval
  • May 15, 2018 – Anticipated time of PUCN approval (up to 180 days)
  • Dec. 31, 2020 – Expected Commercial Operation Date