Sun shining over a row of solar panels

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
for 50 to 80 MW of Solar Energy
Plus 25 to 50 MW of
Optional Battery Storage

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Will PowerSouth consider a fixed shape PPA?

a. Yes. However, PowerSouth is interested in contracting for solar energy plus optional battery storage due to the potential to lower future energy costs compared to traditional energy resources. We will be short-listing the most competitive responses only.

2. Is a 115kV minimum interconnect a hard requirement?

a. Yes

3. Would an LOI suffice, or is an executed long-term lease or option agreement necessary?

a. Yes, an LOI or an affidavit from the landowner will be acceptable for evidence of site control.

4. Is the $1,000 proposal fee per each pricing scenario or project submitted?

a. The intent of the proposal fee is to cover PowerSouth’s costs for the initial transmission interconnection screening analysis; therefore, the proposal fee should be submitted for EACH PROJECT, not for each pricing scenario.

5. Would PowerSouth be willing to grant an extension on the RFP response deadline of October 31, 2020?

a. No, we cannot grant an extension.

6. Could PowerSouth make a draft copy of the proposed PPA available?

a. We are working to make a draft copy available to the short listed vendors.

7. Would PowerSouth provide a list of the regulatory approvals required?

a. As PowerSouth’s service territory covers multiple states and other regulatory boundaries, we cannot provide a list that would cover all potential regulatory obligations. This is a requirement for the developer to determine.

8. What are the requirements for the “regulatory out” provision in Section 5.2 of the RFP document?

a. A “regulatory out” provision included in the PPA is a contractual clause whereby PowerSouth will be excused from the PPA because of the actions of a jurisdictional regulatory agency which limit the developer from completing the project as agreed upon in the PPA.

9. Would PowerSouth consider acquiring a fully developed Solar Facility at a predetermined $/kW as opposed to entering into a PPA for solar energy?

a. No, PowerSouth is requesting a long-term PPA to be owned, operated, and maintained by the developer. PowerSouth may include the option to purchase the facility in the PPA at a negotiated time.

10. Does the requirement for interconnection information refer to the location of the interconnection or to studies?

a. The interconnection information is required to be submitted with the RFP for locational purposes, but PowerSouth also plans to perform some initial interconnection and transmission related screening studies as part of the short-listing process. Without the interconnection information, this analysis cannot be completed and the proposal will be rejected.

11. PowerSouth System Map

a. Click here to view the PowerSouth system map.

12. Can PowerSouth provide for more guidance as to the intended use case for the BESS (battery energy storage system)? Such use case defines the BESS itself and hence as well the pricing for the BESS. It also defines the potential need for grid charging. Typical use cases are for the BESS to be a capacity device, energy shifting resource, regulation, and the like. Any information you can provide to the intended use case for the BESS will only contribute to the quality of the proposals.

a. PowerSouth plans to utilize the BESS as peak shaving capacity resource. We do not anticipate applying any ancillary or energy arbitrage benefits from the BESS in our evaluation of the proposals.

13. The RFP seems to indicate that the pricing should not cover the Interconnection Facilities and Network Upgrades beyond the POI. Is that also the case for the AL Power and Gulf Power interconnections?

a. Yes, that you are correct. Interconnection facilities and network upgrade costs beyond the POI should not be included in the PPA price of your proposal. This is for evaluation purposes only. We will include any additional identified cost within our shortlist evaluation. Once a project has been awarded, responsibility for the costs of interconnection facilities will be discussed and included in appropriate contract language.

14. For projects on the AL Power and Gulf Power systems, the TSR seems to be the responsibility of the Respondent. This is highly unusual as the Respondent is not a party under the NITS between PowerSouth and AL Power and Gulf Power. We can provide for the funding of the TSR, but being responsible for such TSR is likely something any Respondent may be comfortable with. Can PowerSouth reconsider this point?

a. The respondent will be responsible for all costs up to the Point of Delivery that will allow the solar or solar plus BESS facility to become a Designated Network Resource under PowerSouth’s Network Integrated Transmission Service Agreements with Alabama Power and Gulf Power. Transmission service beyond the Point of Delivery will be the responsibility of PowerSouth under its respective NITS agreements.

15. What is the use of the project being a QF? Is PowerSouth not limiting itself by such requirement? Has PowerSouth considered the recent FERC ruling on QF’s (Sept 1 2020)?

a. PowerSouth is continuing to study the recent FERC QF ruling. PowerSouth desires Qualifying Facility proposals, but is willing to consider a non-Qualifying Facility in our 2020 RFP. However, PowerSouth is NOT willing to accept any project a total interconnection capacity greater than 80 MW AC, including projects that have combined solar and battery output.

16. May we respectfully request the EPA to be provided in editable MS Word form so we can provide for our inputs on the EPA in an interactive way?

a. If your proposal is short-listed, we will provide an editable version of the EPA. Within your project proposal submission, please include any major exceptions and additions that you wish to be negotiable within the EPA.

17. Thank you for the opportunity PowerSouth provided to bid our projects into the RFP. Does PowerSouth have a 12x24 heat map for the participants to make the best decisions with regards to battery cycling?

a. At this time, we do not have an available 12x24 heat map.

18. Solar+Storage Pairing: Can you please clarify what is meant by battery “paired” with solar? Do you mean that 80Mws of solar and 50 MWs of battery for a total of 130 MWs will be deliverable at the POI? Or do you mean that the solar is charging up the battery, discharging, recharging, but at any point in time, the maximum delivery is 80 MWs to the POI from the combined resource?

a. PowerSouth is open to evaluating any proposal submitted. The intended interpretation was that the battery energy storage solution to be connected or paired to the solar for the purposes of charging the battery. We assumed most respondents would wish to take advantage of the solar ITC for pricing purposes. In any event, we expect that the total AC inverter capacity to the point of interconnection to not be greater than 80 MW.

19. Battery Discharge: What is the logic of a minimum of 52 discharges per year (minimum)? Is there a maximum? Are these full discharges each time? What time of year or time of day is the intended discharge profile? Are you intending that the Seller reserve a discharge for early morning each day of the winter peak period? Is there going to be a day-ahead schedule provided by the Seller of what Seller plans to deliver?

a. 52 to 60 full (max to min charge) cycles per year is the expected use case, as PowerSouth plans to utilize the BESS as peak shaving capacity resource. PowerSouth is a winter-peaking utility, and we expect the capacity value of the BESS to be during early morning peaks of the winter season.

20. Production Forecast: Is a NREL PVWATT report and 8760 hour profile permitted in lieu of a PVSYST report/hourly production? Is this report for just the solar resource? 

a. No, we will need the PVSYST report/hourly production output file and design details of the project.

21. Pricing: Is the energy pricing for all delivered energy to the POI, regardless of source (solar or battery or both) and regardless of time of day of delivery? Is the $/KW-month on the available battery capacity (with ancillary services)? Or is the $/kw-month to include the recharge cost for a specified number of discharges per year?

a. The intent of the separate pricing was to allow PowerSouth to fully evaluate the benefit of a solar-only project vs a solar plus BESS project. The energy pricing should include all solar produced energy delivered to POI. The $/kw-month price would be for the available battery capacity and all associated costs. We asked for the battery capacity and provided energy to be priced separately for evaluation purposes.

22. If the solar farm does not charge up the battery as intended, can the Seller charge from the grid? How is the round-trip efficiency to be used? 

a. This decision is left up to the respondent or seller. We assume the respondent will include ITC savings in the pricing of the battery, necessitating solar only charging. However, PowerSouth allows respondent to decide solar plus battery design details.

23. What is the amount of performance security required for a non-investment grade Seller? As a function of $/MW?

a. PowerSouth anticipates performance security amounts to be calculated from two potential sources of risk. First, PowerSouth will require performance security in the amount equal to the construction costs of the interconnection facility and directly associated network upgrades. Second, PowerSouth will also require performance security in the amount equal to the present value replacement cost of the average annual energy expected from the facility.

24. What time is the RFP due by on October 31?

a. All RFP responses are due by 11:59 PM CDT on October 31st.

25. Battery Life. Is the battery life going to be (effectively), the term of the PPA? Or is the Seller’s undertakings reduced or changed after a lesser number of years equal to a battery warranty period?

a. The respondent should decide the details of the design, including assumptions on battery replacements to meet the proposal requirements.

26. State of Charge. How is the state of charge (low/medium/high) information to be used? Is that operating day schedule information Seller is to provide only? 

a. This information will used for evaluation of the submitted proposals. Generally, this information is provided in hours per year the battery will be required to be in low, medium, or a high state or charge.

27. Battery market based rate basis. Can you please advise on what “market based” priced items Buyer is paying Seller versus energy and capacity payments? Is this for grid charging, whereby PowerSouth or an alternative supplier is providing energy to charge the battery?

a. PowerSouth is only intending to pay seller those energy and capacity cost quoted within the proposal. See answer to grid charging question above. Respondents should include all assumption within submitted proposals.

28. Market experience. Is market based rate experience referring to “avoided cost” type pricing in the US Southeast or an understanding of how PJM’s charges/billing work for ancillary services versus selling capacity and energy? What is the purpose - forward scheduling?

a. PowerSouth will be considering market experience within the evaluation of proposals. We will be looking to see which respondents have successfully completed projects in the southeast.

29. I would like to confirm my understanding of how bid fees will apply based on the requirement that a $1,000 bid fee required for each proposal submitted. Is a proposal tied to a different price or variations of pricing? For example, COD by 10/31/2023, solar price at $X/MWh, flat (no escalation) and with escalation (no more than 2%/year) is one offer. If we offer solar + BESS, COD by 10/31/2023, solar price at $X/MWh, flat (no escalation) and with escalation (no more than 2%/year) and BESS at $/KW-mo. (no escalation) and with escalation (no more than 2%/year) is second offer, or would these be considered four separate offers?

a. You are required to submit $1000 for each unique location or project site. Respondents are allowed to submit as many pricing, COD, or other options as they see fit for a location with no additional fees.

30. Please confirm that the ‘project information template’ is the same as the ‘Generator Interconnection Request Solar Generating Facility Data’ Sheet or if the ‘template’ is a separate document.

a. The project information template and the Generator Interconnection Request Solar Generating Facility Data sheet are two separate documents.
The project information template was attached in the RFP and is labeled “2020 PowerSouth Solar RFP Data Input Template”. The Generator Interconnection Request Solar Generating Facility Data sheet can be found in Exhibit 2.

31. Is there a GIS version of this PDF map? 

a. No, we do not have a public GIS version available.

32. Is it mandatory for the facility to be QF? I ask because under the attached FERC ruling, it appears, that the facility will need to be no more than 80 MWdc (approx. 60 MWac) to qualify as a QF resource. This will impact project economics and PPA pricing for projects that are sized at 80 MWac.

a. See answer above.

33. Do you have a preference for Battery Storage to be additive or non-additive to the solar resource? An Additive Battery could impact the QF status of the project, in light of the attached FERC ruling.

a. Total AC inverter capacity of the project should not be more than 80MW.

33. Will PowerSouth take a non-QF project given the uncertainty around the FERC Broadview ruling on PURPA?

a. See answer above

34. For projects that include energy storage, do the PPA tenors need to match?

a. Yes, we would like the solar and battery storage components to have matching PPA terms.

35. For projects that include an energy storage component, will energy delivered to the Buyer from the energy storage be included in the definition of “Deemed Delivered Energy”?

a. Yes, all energy will be included in the definition if “Deemed Delivered Energy”.

36. What is the purpose of storage option procurement from functionality wise? Shifting, scheduling, firming, smoothing, or others? Depending on the purpose, optimal size will be determined.

a. See answer above

37. What is evaluation criteria for storage option? How much evaluation credit will be applied when compared to PV only?

a. See answer above. The BESS will be considered a peaking capacity resource only in PowerSouth’s evaluation.

38. Can PowerSouth provide an estimation of the available capacity of the [INSERT NAME] substation?

a. PowerSouth does not plan to provide this information during the RFP process. Available capacity of transmission lines and substations will be evaluated in the initial screening of RFP responses and subsequent System Impact Studies.

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