Over the past few months I’ve noticed a marked spike in the number of requests for proposal (RFP) being issued by utilities in search of renewable energy. Here’s a short summary of some of the more recent requests.
- DTE Energy is seeking suppliers for their GreenCurrents program in 2009 and 2010. Proposals are due by close of business on Friday, May 2nd
- AEP subsidiary Appalachian Power is seeking 100 megawatts of clean power for operation by the end of 2010. Proposals are due by the close of business on May 30th
- AEP subsidiary Southwest Electric Power Co. is seeking between 65 and 100 megawatts of clean power for operation by the end of 2010. Proposals are due on May 19, 2008
- The Long Island Power Authority is seeking up to 50 megawatts of solar power. Final proposals are due on June 27, 2008
- Portland General Electric is seeking up to 218 megawatts of clean energy for delivery between 2009 and 2014. Proposals are due on May 23, 2008.
Renewable RFPs typically seek energy supply from sources of energy that do not produce harmful emissions and could include wind, solar or biomass. In some cases, such as the LIPA RFP, the utility will request a specific type of supply.
U.S. utilities have not typically been in the business of developing clean energy technologies. The RFP process allows those utilities to make connections with companies who specialize in clean but much smaller scale projects.
Expect to see more RFPs issued as we enter the summer of 2008. The demand for clean energy supply by utilities is partly driven by state and regional renewable supply requirements. Its also driven by the realization that utilities can’t count on fuel costs for oil or natural gas to drop anytime soon.
The amount of energy produced by these projects is not very significant. By getting into the clean energy business now these power companies can lay the groundwork for much larger clean projects that they might need down the road.