Pacificorp looks to add 4.3 GW of renewables and storage by 2023

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Late in 2019, Pacificorp released an integrated resource plan (IRP), where the utility outlined plans to add nearly 11 GW of wind and solar by 2038, complemented by 2.8 GW of battery storage. By 2023, the utility intends to add 1.8 GW of new solar resources, 595 MW of new battery energy storage and 1.9 GW of new wind resources.

In pursuit of that 2023 goal, Pacificorp has released the largest request for proposals (RFP) in the history of the company.

What’s more is that every single MW procured will come from projects purchased by the utility, as Pacificorp has shared that it will not be submitting any self-build resources for competing for capacity. No, this is a development battle royale for inclusion into one of the largest American renewable energy procurements ever.

All proposed projects must be able to achieve commercial operation by December 31, 2024, outside of certain long-lead time developments, like pumped-hydro storage. As for the actual procurement of energy, the company is accepting multiple bid structures, but specifically highlighted power purchase agreements and build-transfer agreements.

PacifiCorp currently owns just under 10.9 GW of generation capacity, meaning that this first RFP under the company’s planned expansions represents a nearly 40% increase in generation capacity in just three years.

While we know how much capacity is coming, we don’t yet know where that capacity will go. While Pacificorp shares that the company will limit the capacity in a given location to 150% of the capacity chosen by company’s 2019 IRP preferred portfolio, the preferred portfolio doesn’t outline exactly how much capacity that each state is anticipated to procure by 2023.

We do know, however, how much capacity each state is intended to add through the life of the RFP, which could at least hint to to which states will get the larger capacity shares in this IRP. Under the 2019 IRP:

  • 3,000 MW of new solar will go to Utah, paired with 635 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2020 and 2037
  • 1,415 MW of new solar in Wyoming, paired with 354 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2024 and 2038
  • 1,075 MW of new solar in Oregon, paired with 244 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2020 and 2033
  • 814 MW of new solar in Washington, paired with 204 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2024 and 2036

It would appear that Utah will get the lionshare of new capacity, with Wyoming exploding onto the scene, considering the state has installed just 110 MW thus far, according to SEIA. While the Washington figures may seem low, Washington is also one of the best-suited states in the country for hydroelectric generation and pumped-hydro storage. The addition of ‘just’ 814 MW of solar and 204 MW of battery storage may not tell the full story.

As always, for any interested developers, Pacificorp is hosting a workshop for interested stakeholders and bidders on July 9, from 9:30 a.m. to noon PT. From there, the notice of intent to bid is due on July 20. RFP bids are due August 10, bidders placed on the initial shortlist will be informed by October 14 and after conferring with this list, the list of winning bids will be announced on May 25, 2021. More info on the RFP is available here.

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