Questions from RFP bidders and answers from Tri-State
Updated as of 9/1/2022 (most recent Q&A at end)
- How much MW (or GW) is Tri-State looking to acquire as part of this RFP?
The RFP does not specify the total amount of MW Tri-State is seeking. In its Revised Preferred Plan filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (“Commission”) in September 2021 as part of its Phase I Electric Resource Plan (ERP) filing, Tri-State’s modeling identified 300 MWs of wind in Wyoming and Colorado as the preferred quantity, location and technology. However, the amounts, locations and technologies selected as part of the Phase II ERP process will be determined by additional modeling completed following receipt of bids. The results of Phase II modeling are likely to vary from Phase I and will also depend on bids received through this RFP. Tri-State’s Phase II ERP Implementation Report will identify portfolios of resources, including Tri-State’s preferred portfolio, for bid selection. The Commission is expected to reach a decision in Q1 2023.
- (a) How does the DISIS Cluster study align with Tri-State RFP timing?
The 2022 DISIS Cluster study and the Tri-State RFP, while similar in timing this year, are not intentionally aligned.
Under Tri-State's OATT, Tri-State will open up a DISIS Request Window annually on April 15 or, if April 15th is not a business day, the first business day after April 15. Tri-State will accept interconnection requests during the forty-five (45) calendar day DISIS Request Window for inclusion in the annual DISIS cluster studies. The 2022 DISIS Request Window closed on May 31 of this year.
Under the RFP issued on May 18th, Tri-State is not requiring that bidders have an active interconnection request in Tri-State’s Interconnection Queue. It is anticipated that once Tri-State receives a Phase II decision from the Commission in early 2023, it will initiate a Resource Solicitation Cluster for those projects in the approved resource portfolio that propose to interconnect to the Tri-State system and are not already in Tri-State's Interconnection Queue.
(b) Typically at what phase in the DISIS process would a project know about whether it was advancing under the RFP and selected for PPA negotiations?
Because the DISIS and Resource Solicitation Cluster are separate processes, they will follow their published timelines under Tri-State's OATT. Bidders will be notified if their projects appear in any of the portfolios resulting from Tri-State's Phase II modeling, late in 2022. Proposals selected for PPA negotiations will be notified following the Commission’s decision, currently anticipated in Q1 2023.
(c) What happens if our project is not selected in the RFP?
If a project is in Tri-State's Interconnection Queue, and is not selected in the RFP, bidders have the discretion to either withdraw from the Interconnection Queue under the terms of Tri-State's LGIP or proceed through the DISIS process.
- The RFP mentions "Each bidder is required to review the applicable model contract depending on resource type and identify any modifications or objections and include this mark-up with its proposal(s)". Is this referring to the PPA contracts? Can you provide editable versions/word documents of the contracts so we are able to make markups and insert comments?
Yes, this is a reference to the model PPAs. Word versions of these form PPAs have been provided on the RFP website under the zip file for RFP Forms.
- We are considering partnering with another developer on bidding some projects into your RFP. The other developer is also planning to bid some projects on its own into your RFP. We want to make sure this does not violate the collusion language in your RFP.
We wouldn't view collaboration with another developer as collusion given Tri-State’s expectation that bidders are transparent about such developer relationships in their proposal(s) and would clearly describe each developer’s role in the project.
- Can you please let us know when Tri-State plans to initiate the resource solicitation cluster?
Please see the last paragraph of the answer to Question 2.(a) above.
- My company has a project that meets the RFP parameters. We are trying to better understand historical pricing in the Colorado market. Does Tri-State provide information on pricing of past procurements? Any information that would help give a baseline estimate would be helpful.
Tri-State is not able to provide commercially-sensitive information on existing PPA pricing, but will provide, on a highly confidential basis (for those bidders who sign the Bidder Highly Confidential NDA available on our website: https://www.tristate.coop/sites/default/files/PDF/rfp/2022/Modeling-Data-NDA.pdf) the generic resource pricing that will be used in Tri-State’s ERP Phase II modeling.
- We intend to bid a stand-alone storage project. In providing a PPA mark-up as part of our proposal submittal, should we use the semi-dispatchable form PPA provided or is there a storage-only form we should use?
For a stand-alone storage only project, please use the semi-dispatchable form PPA as we do not have a form PPA for storage-only projects.
- In the RFP, you say “Please list client references who may be contacted and for whom services have been rendered in the last 24 months. Include names, titles, address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses". Could you clarify on what type of references you are looking for?
Ideally, Tri-State is looking for utilities or other PPA or project agreement off-takers with whom you have worked and successfully completed a transaction/project. If you do not have references for entities for whom you have rendered services in the last 24 months, you may go further back, but please clarify timing, including the project or transaction you successfully concluded.
- I understand that the voluntary form of consent form is voluntary, but does this approval create additional flexibility within the Tri-State Transmission and Marketing Functions to allow for increased efficiency?
Yes, it also allows for greater communication and coordination between the two functions, within the parameters of FERC Standards of Conduct Regulations.
- Is there any due date associated with the Non-Disclosure Agreement?
No. As a reminder, the option to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, as described on the RFP website is for bidders to be able to access Confidential and Highly Confidential modeling assumption workpapers, should they so desire.
- I’ve seen three form PPAs available from the Tri-State RFP download section, would a bidding entity be able to make edits or comments on these PPA’s for Tri-State review?
Redlines or mark ups of form PPAs, where a bidder desires changes for Tri-State's consideration, are required to accompany a bidder’s proposal. Word documents have been provided on the RFP website to facilitate this process for bidders.
- For solar resources coupled with storage systems what is the preferred use case for the energy storage?
Tri-State has not made a definitive determination on its preferred use case for energy storage at this time, but the primary use is anticipated to be energy shifting to peak hours and mitigating curtailments.
- Is there a preferred duration for storage systems coupled with solar resources?
No. Tri-State anticipates modeling different durations based on bids received and modeling results will determine the best value.
- Is there a percentage or amount of Wind & Solar Capacity that Tri-State is looking to procure in this RFP?
No. ERP Phase II modeling will determine the total MW of resources that appear in each portfolio for the procurement period and other years of the planning period. Tri-State will select a preferred portfolio that will be presented in the ERP Implementation Report.
- Will Tri-State consider energy and capacity deliveries from projects over 200 MW? Or is that the maximum size?
Bids for projects over 200 MW in size will be considered as having not conformed with the RFP requirements and will not be advanced to modeling. The max project size of 200 MW is intentional, reflective of Tri-State’s load being dispersed across its expansive, multi-state system and the known constraints within our regional transmission system, ensuring that projects modeled can be successfully integrated.
- How will Tri-State respond if the Department of Commerce brings high tariffs with ADCVD?
At this point in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s investigation of antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) for crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, it is impossible to predict what the outcomes might be. Bidders should do their best to propose realistic prices for solar projects that could be impacted by high tariffs and provide bid prices that are not contingent on various outcomes as such bids would be difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate through the economic screen element of the bid evaluation process. Tri-State is monitoring the DoC investigation and its potential to impact bid pricing that Tri-State would receive in this RFP. We will notify bidders if the bid response deadline is extended as a result of this situation.
- Do we have to submit multiple Notices of Intent (NOI) for multiple projects or is one NOI sufficient?
One NOI is sufficient with mention of the multiple projects in the box at the bottom of the form. As a reminder, bid fees for actual proposals submitted to Tri-State by the bid response deadline should conform with the instructions in the RFP.
- Can you provide a map that identifies Tri-State property and specific property where Tri-State is interested in hosting renewable or energy storage facilities?
Bidders are responsible for identifying appropriate sites for their project(s). If, in their title searches, a site is identified as being owned in part or in full by Tri-State, bidders may contact Tri-State using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address to discuss their interest in leasing or purchasing land owned by Tri-State.
- There are several active RFPs for new resources in this region; how will Tri-State handle bids/proposals that are submitted into multiple RFPs?
Tri-State is aware that other resource solicitations in our region are active or are soon to be released. On Form 2 of the Bidder Response Forms, we ask for information regarding whether a project has been bid into another RFP and on page 6 of the RFP, we ask to be notified within 5 days if a project agreement has been executed with another entity for the project. With good communication between Tri-State and the bidder throughout the Phase II process, we hope to avoid progressing too far with analysis or negotiations of a project that has been contracted for by another entity.
- Does a project go into exclusivity with Tri-State once submitted into the 2022 Request for Proposals for Capacity and Energy Supply?
No, however please see the response to Question 19 indicating that we require information about whether the project has been proposed in another solicitation (within the Bidder Response Form) and notification if a project agreement is entered into with another entity.
- Our projects are in the early stages of development. If we do not have 100% of the information requested in the bidder response forms or RFP, does that prevent us from submitting a complete bid?
Failure to provide the information requested in the RFP and the Bidder Response Forms will make the screening and evaluation process difficult for Tri-State staff and could result in that proposal being eliminated from further consideration. Please note that Tri-State’s next ERP is currently due to be filed in 2023 which will likely result in a new RFP for resources being issued in 2024.
- Will Tri-State consider signing a mutual NDA or keep bidder information confidential?
As stated in the RFP regarding information provided by bidders that they deem confidential, such information will be treated confidentially but disclosed to parties/the Commission, as necessary. Upon request from a bidder for an NDA, Tri-State will discuss the need for an NDA and may consider entering into an NDA with such bidder. Any such NDA will permit disclosure of the bidder’s confidential information consistent with the RFP instructions.
Additionally, Tri-State is required to publicly disclose on its website certain bid information previously designated as confidential at the conclusion of Phase II of the ERP, in compliance with Commission Rule 3605(h)(III) and (IV). Electric Rules are accessible here: https://puc.colorado.gov/electricrules.
- Questions relating to the RFP Bidder Response Forms:
In Form 4.2 Section 2.b., can you clarify the time to switch from charging to discharging?
The time to switch from charging to discharging is simply the amount of time necessary for a storage resource to transition from a state of being charged to a state where the resource is capable to start ramping. For a battery, this time may be inconsequential but, except for part 3, Form 4.2 is meant to address multiple storage technologies that may require significant time to switch from being charged to being capable of serving load.
In Form 4.2 Section 2.c., can you clarify the minimum and maximum stable operating point on AGC?
Automatic Generator Control (AGC) means that a resource will be required to automatically adjust to a remotely-provided set-point in response to interchange balancing requirements within its respective Balancing Authority Area. With this in mind, we are seeking to understand what maximum and minimum levels, as a percent of full load, a resource can reliably and consistently achieve when a remote set-point is provided. The full load capability for a resource will be determined from the data provided on Form 5.2 columns H and I, the Summer and Winter Base Contract Capacity provided at the Point of Delivery.
In the Capacity Performance Profile in Form 5.2, are columns H-K required for a paired battery storage project?
At a minimum, Column H and I, Summer and Winter Base Contract Capacity at the Point of Delivery, should be provided and should reflect only the battery or storage part of a project. If there is no difference between what a resource can reliably commit to during the summer and winter months, then these two values will be the same. The other Columns, J and K, are provided to give bidders maximum flexibility to describe the capabilities of their project and in such cases where those columns are utilized, it will likely require additional consideration and analysis by Tri-State.
- Will Tri-State consider bids for existing projects with an expiring PPA prior to the end of 2026 or energy resulting from the repowering of existing projects?
- Does Tri-State have further preference for projects that can come online prior to summer in 2025?
Projects contributing to the 2025 carbon reduction target identified in the ERP Settlement Agreement are the focus of this RFP and therefore, projects coming online in early 2025, or earlier, will be helpful in meeting carbon reduction targets in 2025.
- What are Tri-State’s peak system hours to shift solar energy to?
Indicative hourly load profiles by month for each state Tri-State serves can be found in Exhibit BN-2, part of ERP Phase I filed on December 1, 2020 in Proceeding No. 20A-0528E, on pages 408-455 (Link). The actual values will be updated as part of ERP Phase II modeling, but the profiles are expected to remain the same.
- Does Tri-State have any guidance on preferred battery duration or storage sizing relative to solar based on modeling you have performed?
No, please also see responses to Questions 12 and 13 above.
- There is a discrepancy between page 5 and 10 of the RFP related to the number of years of financial statements and annual reports to provide.
Please provide financial statements and annual reports from the previous three years.
- Will Tri-State provide guidance on the dollar amount required as PPA security?
Please refer to Article 11 of the Form PPAs, for specific amounts please see section (B) of Article 11.
- Will a surety bond be accepted to satisfy the security requirements?
No. The acceptable forms of security can be found in Section 11.1 of the Form PPAs.
- How will Tri-State value any Ancillary Service benefit provided by a BESS and will any additional revenue be provided?
Tri-State’s ancillary service requirements are met by its current resources and agreements. Additional compensation beyond the prices offered for energy and capacity payments are not anticipated at this time. Please see the definition of Contract Energy in the Form PPAs and note that payment for Contract Energy includes ancillary services, among other attributes.
- What does the term “or specific index must be included for evaluation.” on page 4 of the RFP mean? Is Tri-State explicitly stating that BESS indexing is allowed?
As listed in the RFP, the reference to an index was meant to capture various indices that bidders may choose to use in their proposals. It could include an electricity price index based on actual settled transactions for a particular period, such as the Palo Verde Electric Price index reported by Bloomberg or Platts, for example. It could also include an economic-based index, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for example. By referencing an index in the RFP, Tri-State attempts to provide bidders with a maximum amount of flexibility to incorporate different pricing options. While an indexed price would be acceptable, a fixed or linearly escalating price is preferred.
- Will Tri-State please verify the minimum percent availability for a co-located battery storage system that will be considered for this RFP?
There is no minimum availability requirement. To clarify, availability for a storage resource is defined as the percent of time the resource is available to either be charged or discharged. Situations affecting availability include expected maintenance and the probability of unexpected outages. For a BESS, the availability is expected to be very high. If by availability you mean the availability to serve load, that would be a function of the storage capacity and the state of charge of the resource, that would be evaluated as part of modeling. Please also see responses to questions 12 and 13 above.
- Can Tri-State provide a 12X24 heat map that shows current peaking hours and projected peaking needs (and hours) relevant to bidding semi-dispatchable generation units located in Colorado?
Please see the response to question 26 above.
- If we submit a bid with PV Solar combined with Battery Storage, can the terms be different for PV Solar and the Battery Storage? For example, 25-year PV Solar with 20-year Battery Storage?
- Is there any additional fee or bond beyond the initial bid fee during the shortlist phase?
- Is Tri-State open to pricing options contingent on extension of federal tax credits?
As stated previously, bids with contingencies will be difficult for the Tri-State team to evaluate in its Phase II process. We ask that bidders do their best to base proposals on realistic assumptions.
- If bidding multiple projects into this renewable RFP, should respondents submit separate proposals for each project, or just separate Bidder Response Forms with one overall proposal?
As noted, a separate Bidder Response Form should be submitted for each project option proposed. With respect to the other required components of the bid such as the narrative topics or financial statements, there is no need to submit multiple copies of the same thing. Documents common to all proposals will be saved at the company level while documents specific to a project or project options will be saved and accessed by project.
- Will the amount of the bid fee be reimbursable if the project(s) submitted are awarded?
- Is the test energy period part of the PPA term, or is it outside of that period?
Yes, it is part of the PPA term. The PPA will become effective as of the Effective Date but the actual Term does not begin until the Commercial Operation Date (please refer to Article 2 of the Form PPAs). Test Energy is the energy produced prior to the Commercial Operation date and thus would be within the PPA term.
- Can Tri-State please confirm that the PPA price for storage projects should be offered in $/kW-mo as an addition to the energy price ($/MWh)?
If a bidder intends to offer Tri-State the ability to charge a BESS from the grid at any point during the contract term, then we request that a $/kW-mo. capacity price be included in the bid. However, a bidder may offer a single $/MWh energy price for a hybrid storage project, in which case it will be assumed that the battery is only charged from the associated renewable resource for the term of the contract.
- In Tab “6.2 Pricing-Renew. With Storage” of the bid form – does Tri-State automatically calculate the blended price? Where does this value come from??
The initial economic screen for both co-located and hybrid BESS configurations will be based on a single levelized cost of energy value calculated from the $/MWh price, with the lowest cost resource for each type of configuration being advanced to modeling. For projects that include a capacity price, a blended $/MWh price is calculated on Form 6.2, which is the total annual capacity and energy costs divided by the expected energy produced by the associated renewable resource. If a bidder feels that this does not accurately represent their project for the initial economic screen, they may indicate a different price in column K and explain the difference in cell C16.
- Does Tri-State prefer fixed (flat) or escalating PPA pricing?
Tri-State does not have a preference; however, its most recent signed PPAs have had fixed (flat) pricing.
- Can Tri-State advise as to the acceptability of energy delivery at a specific location or substation?
No. For specific interconnection questions and questions regarding available transmission capacity, please contact the appropriate Transmission Provider’s Generator Interconnection Administrator or OASIS/OATT Administrator, respectively.
- Would Tri-State accept delivery from a project connecting to the El Paso Electric transmission system in New Mexico??
Tri-State is not a network transmission service customer of El Paso Electric. As stated on page 3 of the RFP, Tri-State currently is a network customer of Western Area Power Administration, PacifiCorp, Platte River Power Authority, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Public Service Company of Colorado, and Black Hills/Colorado Electric Utility Co. Any costs or agreements to deliver the project energy to any of these transmission systems would be wholly the responsibility of the bidder.
- If a bidder proposes to interconnect with a transmission system of which Tri-State is a network transmission customer (those listed in the RFP on page 3), are there additional wheeling charges or other costs that a bidder should reflect in its proposal? Please identify any other costs associated with network resources?
Interconnection costs are specific to a transmission provider’s transmission tariff requirements. If a project proposes to interconnect with a transmission provider’s transmission system under which Tri-State takes network transmission service, Tri-State’s network transmission expense (excluding applicable ancillary services for a project) would not generally increase as network transmission service is generally charged based on network load, not on generation.
However, if Tri-State does not have sufficient network load to accommodate the output of the proposed project, additional transmission service would need to be procured to deliver project output to Tri-State load and those costs would need to be reflected in the bidder’s proposal. Depending on interconnection and delivery requirements, the transmission provider could require network upgrades to accommodate the proposed generator.
As part of Tri-State’s evaluation of proposed projects, we will consider deliverability of the proposed projects to network load with the applicable transmission provider.
- Are we able to submit an issues list as the mark-up format for the form PPAs?
Bidders are welcome to provide an issues list to summarize key commercial or legal terms they may want to discuss further with Tri-State, but a PPA mark-up is still required in addition to an issues list.
- Tri-State has said that it will accept proposals for a repowered wind project under this RFP. If we have an existing PPA with Tri-State, should we provide a PPA mark-up of the new form or a PPA mark-up of the existing PPA?
Our preference would be for you to mark-up the new form. You may mark-up the existing PPA, however, please note that Tri-State will likely want to capture many of the terms in the Form PPA included as part of the current RFP.
- In regard to the Wind Resources section on page 8:
What kind of correlation between reference wind speed data and collected resource data would like to have provided to you? For what time frame? What kind of wind data is Tri-State looking for? Are you looking for wind data or energy data by monthly or hourly patterns?
At a minimum, for non-dispatchable renewable energy resources, Tri-State requires a forecasted monthly energy profile for each year of the contract term and a forecasted hourly profile for each month of the first twelve months of operation as detailed on Form 5.1 of the Bidder Response Forms. This data will be utilized to develop an hourly energy profile of the project for the contract term to be used in modeling. A bidder may provide additional forecasted data for the project, if available, that will be used to compare and evaluate the hourly energy data developed for modeling.
Can Tri-State describe what they are looking for when they request any droop response for wind generation?
The Form PPAs do not include any requirements for droop response, rather the Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) between the bidder and Transmission Provider will likely include droop response provisions. By requesting droop information, Tri-State is assessing qualitatively a bidder’s ability to meet any such requirements. It is also important to note, though, that the definition of Contract Energy in the Form PPAs states that payment for Contract Energy includes ancillary services, among other attributes as mentioned in Question 31.
- Can you please provide clarification on how Form 6.2 of the Bidder Response Form should be populated? Is the energy price tied to the storage facility or the generating resource? Is there a preference for a capacity price or blended rate? Confirming the blended rate would be the combination of generating resource $/MWh + $MWh for the storage element.
Form 6.2 relates specifically to renewable projects with associated storage. A bidder may offer a single $/MWh price for all energy from the project whether it is routed through a storage resource or not. Alternatively, an energy and capacity price may be offered where, again, the energy price would be for all energy from the project whether it is routed through the storage resource or not. In both cases, the energy price is tied to both the storage and generating resource and Tri-State does not have a preference for either a single energy rate or an energy and capacity rate.
For projects that may be capable to charge from the grid at some point during the contract term and where the bidder wishes to offer this capability to Tri-State, a capacity price should be provided for the applicable contract years.
Regardless of how a bidder chooses to list its pricing, as part of its initial screening of bids, Tri-State will use the blended $/MWh price on Form 6.2 in its economic evaluation.
- Could you confirm if a detailed issues list would be acceptable to Tri-State to meet the PPA review requirement of the RFP?
Please see the response to Question 47.
- How does Tri-State define full site control? Is it all of the land for siting turbines/arrays on or is it the total project to have for final site?
The RFP does not require any specific proof of site control, however, being able to demonstrate and describe a high degree of site control progress in the Development and Siting Status Narrative will be seen as favorable to a project. Further, it is expected that any project will be required to follow the Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP) for the applicable Transmission Provider, which typically involves demonstration of site control as defined in the applicable transmission tariffs.
- The definition of “Expected Contract Energy” in the Renewable and Semi-Dispatchable Form PPA includes a single value, how will degradation be addressed in these PPAs?
For projects that expect output degradation over the term of the PPA, bidders may reference a bidder-provided Exhibit in the markup of the Expected Contract Energy definition to be attached to the PPA detailing the expected energy for each year of the term.
- Does Tri-State have a preference for a AC or DC coupled BESS and does Tri-State prefer a solar only or solar + BESS portfolio?
Tri-State does not have any preferences with respect to whether a project includes a BESS or how such a resource is configured. Rather, we are interested in accurately understanding what is being offered so that it can be modeled accurately and request that bidders carefully consider and are responsive to the information requested in the Bidder Response Forms.
- Will there be an opportunity to further redline the model PPAs after this submission or is this our last chance to note discussion items?
While some PPA terms may be further discussed or clarified as part of final contract negotiations for projects in the preferred portfolio, it is expected that any further requested modifications to the model PPA terms and conditions will not be significant or reflect material departures from the bidder’s model PPA mark-up provided under this RFP process.
- Is Tri-State still expecting the RFP deadline to be July 5, 2022?
Any changes to the anticipated schedule will be communicated by an updated posting on the RFP website as well as via email to all parties who received the initial notification of the RFP release as well as those who have submitted a Notice of Intent form.
- Is the 200 MW limit on bid capacity a hard limit? Will bids for capacity greater than 200 MWs be considered?
Please see the response to Question 15.
- How are transmission, interconnection and upgrade costs calculated for bid evaluations?
Please refer to the Bid Evaluation Criteria of the RFP, in the second paragraph on page 13 where it states that all such costs need to be included in the bidders’ pricing. Bidders are asked to disclose their estimates of these costs in Form 7 of the Bidder Response Forms. Tri-State’s transmission planning group will be reviewing these estimates as part of their evaluation screen of the proposals that are advanced to them following the economic screen. Tri-State’s transmission planning group will evaluate viability of the interconnection (project size, point of interconnection, in-service date / commercial operations date) and the reasonableness and accuracy of interconnection cost estimates; informational verification of any queue status will also be checked.
- How is an active queue position considered for bid evaluation vs. a project without an active queue request?
Please refer to the Bid Evaluation Criteria section of the RFP, in the third paragraph on page 13 where it states that while having instigated the Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP) can better help define project costs and the overall viability of a project, it is not required and queue status alone will not disadvantage a bid. With respect to projects not connecting to Tri-State’s system, interconnection costs developed through an LGIP or similar independent study are required.
- Will impacts from the CPCN approval pending projects be factored in for evaluating transmission/ interconnection costs?
Please refer to the ERP Phase I Unopposed Comprehensive Settlement Agreement filed in Proceeding No. 20A-0528E with the Colorado PUC on January 18, 2022. Section 3.13.3 states that Tri-State agrees to treat the transmission projects that are under consideration by the Colorado PUC in the CPCN filed in Proceeding No. 22A-0085E as planned upgrades not yet in service for the purposes of determining overall transmission costs in ERP Phase II modeling. Tri-State’s CPCN filing will enable bidders to select a point of interconnection for the project subject to the CPCN.
If a proposed project intends to interconnect to a planned facility prior to its approved in-service date, the construction of the transmission facility may be accelerated with the associated costs being allocated to the developer. Otherwise, the project developer should consider that the project may need to be curtailed prior to planned system upgrades and should reflect that in their bid costs.
- Does Tri-State have any preferred delivery locations?
Not necessarily, we are relying on bidders to do their due diligence in selecting sites. It is our expectation that a successful project will be able to qualify as a Designated Network Resource in an area where we are a network transmission customer (please also refer to Question 46). It is also important to note that the ability to successfully schedule a resource to load is one of the non-price factors that will be considered in Tri-State’s bid screening process.
- How will TSGT merchant side treat ERIS?
ERIS is interconnection service selected by the bidder and impacts the studies performed and service conveyed by the Transmission Provider. It is Tri-State merchant’s intent to designate resources as network resources where Tri-State is a network transmission customer of a transmission provider regardless of whether the project has NRIS or ERIS. Projects with ERIS will be subject to the terms of the Interconnection Agreement which may require curtailment of the resource in certain circumstances.
- Does TSGT have unused contracted capacity or rights that can be paired with an ERIS project to count it towards capacity?
For specific questions regarding available transmission capacity, please contact the appropriate Transmission Provider’s OASIS/OATT Administrator.
- Can TSGT verify the maximum transmission capacity that is listed in the 2022 Available Transfer Capability Implementation Document (ATCID) Attachment A - Version 1A and is TSGT aware of additional transmission capacity that may be available?
Again, for specific questions regarding available transmission capacity, please contact the appropriate Transmission Provider’s OASIS/OATT Administrator.
- Can you confirm that the communication between the two Tri-State functions contemplated in the Voluntary Form of Consent is for transmission and interconnection related evaluation purposes under this RFP?
- Is Tri-State eligible to bid into this RFP?
Tri-State does not intend to bid any company-built resources into this RFP.
- Is there a business reason why Tri-State requires monthly reporting for Deficiency MWhs, when the industry standard is typically on an annual basis?
The Deficiency MWhs is a term that is related to contract default and is implemented in Article 12 of the Form PPA. Contract default and associated remedies are events that can occur over the course of months, if not less, and thus necessitate a monthly basis. This is different than the definition of Guaranteed Energy Production, which does include annual reporting and measurement.
- What job classification tables are to be used in the BVEM requirements in the RFP?
Job classifications are not defined by C.R.S. § 40-2-129 (the section of Colorado Statute requiring Commission consideration of best value regarding employment of Colorado labor) nor within Commission Rules applicable to Tri-State, so we are relying on bidders to provide information on the different job classifications anticipated. While Commission Rule 3616(c) is not applicable to Tri-State, the metrics identified within that rule may provide indication of the type of BVEM metrics of general interest. Bidders are reminded that BVEM information provided to Tri-State is required to be made available, confidentially, to the Commission and parties to Proceeding No. 20A-0528E, per Commission Rule 3605(h)(I)(A)(iii).
- Your RFP originally had several dates identified related to the July 5 bid due date. With the extension of the due date to September 16, 2022, we assume other dates will also be shifted such as the Q&A deadline, the bid fee due date and the Notice of Intent deadline?
Yes. Given that the bid deadline has been extended, the required bid fees are also not due until the extended bid response deadline of September 16, 2022. Regarding the Q&A deadline, Tri-State will continue to post updated Q&A on the RFP website until early September. The deadline for asking questions will be September 1, 2022 to ensure Tri-State has time to respond and post the final Q&A prior to the bid deadline. Finally, although not required to participate in the RFP, bidders may submit Notices of Intent to Bid through August 1, 2022.
- Given the extension of the RFP due date to September 16, 2022, can Tri-State please confirm that the Bidder Response Forms, Narrative Topics, Model Contract Comments, Bid Fee, and Form of Voluntary Consent are all now due September 16th, 2022.
- Does Tri-State expect any of its provided RFP materials (i.e., pro forma PPAs, Bidder forms, etc.) to change between now and the September deadline? If such changes were to occur, when would bidders be notified?
Tri-State does not anticipate any of the RFP materials currently issued to change. If such changes were to occur, we would notify bidders in a timely manner.
- Would Tri-State accept comments on the Dispatchable Model PPA rather than the Semi-Dispatchable PPA for a standalone storage project?
The Semi-Dispatchable Model PPA includes definitions and sections specifically related to batteries and other storage resources such as provisions for charging that are not in the Dispatchable PPA, however, if a bidder wishes to incorporate language from the Dispatchable PPA into the Semi-Dispatchable PPA that would be acceptable.
- Is Tri-State requiring that each individual within a company that would like to access the Confidential and/or Highly Confidential Phase II ERP workpapers needs to sign an NDA?
Yes. Bidders that wish to access Confidential and/or Highly Confidential workpapers must sign the Bidder Highly Confidential NDA available on our website: https://www.tristate.coop/sites/default/files/PDF/rfp/2022/Modeling-Data-NDA.pdf. Each individual within the bidder’s organization who wishes to view the designated workpapers must complete and sign the NDA and email it to SChristensen@lewisroca.com with the subject line: “Tri-State ERP Phase II: NDA and Request for CONF/HIGHLY CONF Workpapers”.
- What feedback will be included in notices to projects that are not shortlisted?
Similar to past competitive solicitations, Tri-State will make an effort to provide feedback to bidders whose projects were not shortlisted (i.e., advanced to modeling) or selected for project agreement negotiations. However, given time constraints, Tri-State staff will only provide such feedback upon request closer to the conclusion of the Phase II process.
- Does Tri-State operate its own balancing authority and what transmission systems and/or balancing authorities does the Tri-State system connect to?
Tri-State does not operate its own Balancing Authority Area (BAA). The main western BAAs where Tri-State serves load are PNM, PSCo, and WACM. Tri-State serves a small amount of load in the PAC BAA and in the eastern interconnection, located in the SPP BAA.
- Can Tri-State clarify whether power delivered to a specific bus bar would be acceptable or unacceptable?
Bidders should work with the applicable Transmission Provider’s OASIS/OATT Administrator to determine what transmission options work best for their specific project and to reflect all associated costs in their bid price. In general, power from any new resource will need to be scheduled to Tri-State load and qualify as a Designated Network Resource in an area where Tri-State is a network transmission customer (please also refer to responses to Questions 46, 61 and 63 above). In addition, information about transmission constraints can be found in Table 2 (Attachments B-1 and B-2) on pages 17-18 of the ERP Phase II Public Modeling Assumptions available on the RFP website, here: Public Modeling Assumption Tables rev 7-22-22.pdf (tristate.coop).
- What are all of the proposal documents that Tri-State requires to be sent by mail and/or by hard copy before the bid deadline?
Generally, all items listed under the Proposal Content section need to be sent via mail or other delivery service as a hardcopy and received no later than 5:00 PM MDT, September 16, 2022. This includes the Bidder Response Forms, Narrative Topics and any Model Contract comments (please also refer to the response to Question 38 above). Please note that each project option requires a separate set of Bidder Response Forms, even if only one cell is different.
- The Firm Offer tab asks respondents to attest that the offer is firm and will remain open however, the form then asks if the project is contingent on the outcome of other solicitations, which seems contradictory. If respondents were to change their price offers after bid submission, would their bids no longer be considered for evaluation under this RFP.
Correct, price changes will not be considered after bid submission. The newly updated Firm Offer tab states: “The undersigned submits this proposal as a firm offer and hereby gives assurance that the proposal will remain open, and not be revocable for one year from the proposal submittal date.” The Firm Offer tab is intended to give Tri-State reasonable certainty that a proposal’s price will be valid through the period of evaluation (including through modeling and project agreement negotiation, if projects advance to those stages).
The question as to whether or not price or any aspect of the proposal is “contingent” is intended to refer to a project’s selection in a different RFP whereby the project would either be withdrawn, or a different price being offered for projects able to scale-up if there were more than one off-taker. If this were the case, the bid pricing would need to reflect this contingency. Furthermore, as stated on page 6 of the RFP: “Each project bid into this RFP must identify whether the bidder has bid the same project into any other RFP. Bidders must also inform Tri-State within 5 business days if such a project bid into another RFP has entered into a contract with another utility/customer with respect to the bid.”
Given Tri-State’s large geographic service territory, we recognize that there may be ongoing RFPs by other utilities and off-takers competing for the same set of projects. In either case, we still expect all bid price options to be firm and remain as such for one year from the proposal submittal date. Tri-State will not accept a contingency without a stated firm price.
- If a Company does not issue SEC 10-K and 10-Q forms can related financial documents such as financial statements from the last three years in business be provided instead?
- Will Tri-State accept renewable projects with only ERIS or is NRIS required?
Tri-State will accept bids for projects that intend on relying on ERIS transmission service, but the modeling of these projects will reflect any potential curtailments as a result of insufficient transmission over the term of the PPA (please also refer to the responses to Questions 62 and 63 above).
- We are submitting one project under this RFP with two pricing proposals. One for just renewable energy and another for renewable energy and a battery. How much would the bid fee be in this case?
The required bid fee for the stated example would be $10,000. The RFP states on page 6, “Projects that are proposed with additional technology options (i.e., wind + solar or solar + battery storage) or different interconnection points will be considered a different project requiring an additional bid fee.” A PV only project will be evaluated separately from a project utilizing PV with an associated battery and thus each configuration requires a separate bid fee. However, up to three variations of price, contract term, size and/or commercial operation date could be offered for each project under a single bid fee.
- On the new Bidder Response Form (Revised 8-9-22) we noticed that on tab 5.1, the Energy Profile by Hour (MWh) section of the spreadsheet is not editable. The previous Bidder Response Forms didn’t give us this issue, how does Tri-State recommend handling this?
A corrected version of the Bidder Response Forms was issued on August 11, 2022. Please use the Revised 8-11-22 version of the Bidder Response Forms available via the Download All RFP Form .zip link for all offers.
- Could Tri-State please confirm how transmission service will be obtained for the project(s) it selects? Would Tri-State Merchant function handle that on its end with Tri-State’s Transmission function or would the developer be responsible for submitting a transmission request if its project is selected in this solicitation??
It is our expectation that a successful project will be able to qualify as a Designated Network Resource on a system where Tri-State is a network transmission customer (please also refer to Question 46). Any costs to deliver the energy generated by the project to Tri-State load, beyond those incurred as a transmission network customer, should be included in the bid price (please also refer to Question 76).
- With about a month away from Tri-State’s updated RFP proposal due date of 9/16/2022, has Tri-State made or is planning on updating any RFP protocol and materials, such as PPA form, bid forms, etc. for bidders to consider?
All changes to the RFP materials are listed, in red text, under the Reminders to Bidders heading on the RFP website. Tri-State does not anticipate any further changes, but if that becomes necessary, any change will be noted under the Reminders to Bidders heading.
- Question related to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA):
- Has Tri-State contemplated any adjustments that will be made to the RFP with the IRA being passed?
No adjustments to the current RFP are contemplated at this time. The scope of the resources to be acquired in this RFP are defined by the ERP Phase I Unopposed Comprehensive Settlement Agreement and Commission Decision R22-0191 filed in Proceeding No. 20A-0528E. Tri-State is expecting bidders to reflect any potential incentives or effects of the IRA in their project proposals and associated PPA pricing.
- In response to the IRA, will Tri-State still only request PPAs for this RFP?
Yes, no additional transaction structures beyond what is contained in the current RFP are contemplated at this time.
- We’re checking in to see whether Tri-State is considering a further extension of the bid due date. While we will be prepared to respond by September 16, we believe we’d be able to submit a higher quality response that fully optimizes the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act if we had a few additional weeks to respond. Would Tri-State consider extending the deadline again?
No. In order to meet the carbon reduction targets stated in the Settlement Agreement, Tri-State is looking for resources that will be contributing to those targets beginning in 2025; pushing the RFP not only makes those targets more difficult to meet, but pushing the RFP deadline out also extends this ERP process further into 2023, jeopardizing Tri-State’s ability to properly prepare its Phase I filing in its 2023 ERP.
- Has Tri-State contemplated any adjustments that will be made to the RFP with the IRA being passed?
- Has Tri-State completed the “Incremental Improvements Study” that was described in the Settlement Agreement in Proceeding No. 22A-0085E?
Yes. The full study results are available here (link). The results of the incremental improvements study indicate that incremental upgrades to Tri-State’s transmission system could improve injection capability in eastern Colorado. Two of the improvements identified in the report, the Vilas 115/69kV transformer and Lamar – Willow Creek 115 kV line, experienced upgrades prior to the study, which removed the need for additional upgrades.
Tri-State intends to pursue two additional upgrades identified in the report pending a request for a Colorado PUC determination as to whether CPCNs are necessary for the upgrades. Tri-State expects to file its request for such a determination with the Colorado PUC no later than September 10, 2022. The two additional upgrades are: (1) structure modifications/replacements to the Anton – Arickaree 115kV line and (2) metering CT bypass/removal at Liberty substation. Both of these upgrades are economical, incremental upgrades which Tri-State believes will benefit resource accommodation in eastern Colorado. Please see the study report linked above for more detail.
- Several requests pertaining to Best Value Employment Metrics are listed on page 10 of the RFP. Can you please confirm that these only pertain to employees working on site at the project location and does not extend to out-of-state workers or workers who provide support functions remotely?
The Best Value Employment Metric (BVEM) requirements in the RFP are in response to Colorado Revised Statute §40-2-129 and Colorado PUC Commission Rule 3605(g)(II)(iii). Since these provisions stem from laws and rules specific to the State of Colorado, Tri-State would agree that they would not apply to workers physically located in a State other than Colorado even if those workers are performing tasks for projects located in Colorado.
- Estimates of the number of man-hours worked by Colorado workers as compared to total man-hours for each job classification is requested on page 10 of the RFP. Can you confirm that this pertains only to the operational period (e.g. post COD) and does not also include the construction period?
It is Tri-State’s interpretation of the Colorado Revised Statute §40-2-129 that the BVEM metrics to be provided by bidders do pertain to the construction period.
- If a project is shortlisted in the RFP and incorporated into the interconnection study process, does Tri-State assume the costs of those studies? Or would the customer pay, and if so, would an individual customer be paying the normal cost of a DISIS cluster study?
By referencing the RFP shortlist process and differentiating it from a normal DISIS cluster study it seems this question is referring to the Resource Solicitation Cluster study process. Whether or not such a study will be necessary has not yet been determined. In any case, all costs for types of interconnection studies are allocated to the Interconnection Customer as defined in in the Large Generator Interconnection Procedures, Attachment N to the Tri-State Open Access Transmission Tariff.
- If we are shortlisted in the RFP and incorporated into the interconnection study process but do not win the bid, do we get to keep our queue position? If we do get to keep the queue position, what costs would apply?
As above this question seems to be assuming a project that is being studied as part of a Resource Solicitation Cluster study, in which case the project would not retain its position if it is not ultimately selected. Section 4.2.2 of Appendix N states that “Once a Generating Facility is rejected in the Resource Solicitation Process, the Generating Facility shall lose the Queue Position it held as part of the Resource Solicitation Process.”.
The RFP, on page 4, states that bidders have the option of quoting non-binding prices if accompanied with a statement that expressly states as such. However, Form 2 of the Bidder Response Form seems to require a bidder to commit to a firm, non-revocable offer with a 1-year validity. How does Tri-State recommend bidders to proceed with completing Form 2 of the Bidder Response Forms when bidders intend to provide non-binding pricing by expressly stating as such? Can bidders submit a valid bid response without executing Form 2?
As mentioned above, bids with contingencies will be difficult for the Tri-State team to evaluate and we ask that bidders do their best to base proposals and associated pricing on realistic assumptions (please also refer to Question 37 and 78). If a bidder does elect to submit contingent pricing we would still require that Form 2 be submitted and that the bidder commit that the pricing offered is firm and irrevocable given any specifically defined contingencies or special terms not otherwise captured by the Bidder Response Forms. Any such contingencies or terms, though, will need to be precisely described in the Pricing Methodology narrative and will be appropriately weighed in the evaluation process.
- For a project proposed as renewable plus storage, does the 200MW size limit apply to the renewable generation only or the battery too? For example, would a 200MW wind project with 50MW of BESS be excluded from consideration?
No, a 200MW generation resource with storage would be considered a valid RFP bid.
- Do you anticipate an additional extension to the RFP bid submittal deadline? If not, are you able to share when Tri-State anticipates its next Capacity and Energy Supply RFP?
No further extensions of the submittal deadline are anticipated at this time, (please also refer to Question 85c). Further, the next Tri-State RFP will be a function of the regulated ERP process, with our next Phase I ERP scheduled to be filed with the Colorado PUC in 2023, which will likely result in a new RFP for resources under Phase II of the 2023 ERP being issued in 2024.
- If we submit a project with a nameplate greater than 200 MW, would Tri-State accept a PPA for a portion of the project capacity?
Yes, provided there are physical generation resources and transmission capacity dedicated to the PPA with Tri-State and the pricing for the 200 MW portion of a larger project is not contingent on another off-taker taking the capacity and energy above 200 MW.
- Will Tri-State accept a project greater than 200MW?
An RFP response for a generation resource, excluding any storage, greater than 200 MW would be considered an invalid bid. The RFP states on page 3 that Tri-State is seeking energy and capacity deliveries from projects with nameplate capacity ratings up to a maximum of 200 MW.
- For two separate solar project proposals, each with co-located battery storage, is there one application for each of the two projects or is there two separate applications, one for the Solar and one for the battery storage?
A solar resource, or any non-dispatchable renewable resource, offered and priced together with an associated battery, or storage resource, is considered a single project and should be described in a single Bidder Response Form Excel file with the solar resource details being included on form 4.1, 5.1 and 6.1 and the battery details on 4.2, 5.2 and 6.2. So, for the situation above two sets of Bidder Response Forms are required but each set should include both the solar and battery components. If the solar resource were to be bid by itself, a separate Bidder Response Form Excel file should be submitted, leaving out any battery details. As for other required components of the bid such as the narrative topics or financial statements, there is no need to submit multiple copies of the exact same thing (please also refer to Question 38).
- In regards to bid fees, are separate checks required for each project or would one check for the balance of all projects suffice?
A single check for the total bid fee amount from each company submitting bids is fine.
- Regarding bid fees on a solar project with co-located battery storage, the bid fee would be $10,000, $5,000 for the solar portion and $5,000 for the battery storage. Would this be a separate check for the solar and battery, or similar to the previous question, would this check be one for the value of $10,000?
Again, a single check from each responding company is fine but a solar resource with an associate battery would be considered a single project and only require a $5,000 bid fee. It also does not matter if the battery is considered co-located or as a hybrid, if bid together, as a package deal, they are considered a single project. If the solar resource were then bid without the battery option, a separate bid fee would then be required.
- Does the requested Best Value Employment Metrics information need to cover only the construction period, or also the operating period of a proposed project?
The bidder should provide their best estimates of BVEM for both the construction and operation phases of the project (please also refer to Questions 87 and 88).
- Can a postmarked hard copy (postmarked before the 5 pm MT September 16th deadline) be acceptable in lieu of the physical delivery by the 5 pm MT September 16th deadline?
No. As stated in the RFP, “all proposals must be sent via email and a single hard copy delivered by the deadline. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered unless Tri-State determines in its sole discretion that extenuating circumstances led to late delivery.”
- In Questions 58 and 59 above Tri-State indicates that all transmission costs should be included in the bidder’s pricing and that the Tri-State transmission planning group will review these costs. If these costs are found to be significantly different from what is expected, will bidders be afforded the opportunity to adjust their pricing?
Yes, Tri-State will not make any adjustments to bid pricing without consulting the bidder but if a project successfully passes the initial economic, interconnection/transmission viability, and non-price factor screens but appears to have underestimated interconnection/ transmission costs, a bidder will be contacted to either justify the estimated costs or adjust pricing.