February 23, 2024

PRPA’s new RFP seeks to enhance renewables’ reliability

FORT COLLINS  – Platte River Power Authority, the wholesale electricity provider for Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, issued a request for proposals on Thursday to help firm its increasingly renewable energy portfolio.

The RFP calls for up to 200 megawatts of dispatchable resources to help maintain reliability as the utility continues to work toward its resource diversification policy. That policy, adopted by PRPA’s board of directors in 2018, directs its CEO to proactively work toward a 100% noncarbon energy mix while maintaining the organization’s foundational pillars of reliability, environmental responsibility and financial sustainability.

Dispatchable sources of electricity are those that can be programmed on demand at the request of power grid operators, according to market needs.

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“We need to proactively manage the intermittency of renewables as we continue to diversify our portfolio and prepare for a future without dispatchable coal resources,” said Jason Frisbie, PRPA’s general manager and CEO, in a prepared statement. “This RFP allows us to identify innovative tools and technologies that support the transition while maintaining our foundational pillars.”

Since 2018, PRPA has issued only all-renewable RFPs to accelerate the decarbonization of its energy portfolio as it prepares for coal-facility retirements. From these requests, the utility expects to add another 150 megawatts of solar energy and up to 250 megawatts of additional wind energy, and is close to finalizing negotiations for an additional 150 megawatts solar and storage.

“We are actively replacing coal generation with wind and solar resources as we continue to transition our energy portfolio,” said Raj Singam Setti, PRPA’s chief operating officer for innovation and sustainable-resource integration. “Our strategy emphasizes not only the expansion of intermittent renewable resources but also the importance of firming these resources with reliable, flexible, efficient and quick-start dispatchable power, to ensure a balanced and sustainable energy future.”

Last October, Platte River’s board approved a resolution to proactively develop the dispatchable capacity necessary to protect system reliability and financial sustainability as the utility continues to pursue a 100% noncarbon energy mix.

Dispatchable resources play a vital role in sustaining grid stability and reliability by adjusting power output in real-time to match fluctuations in availability of renewables and electricity demand. The RFP requires that the dispatchable resources selected must be able to perform and function at full capacity within 30 minutes.

PRPA is requiring a bid proposal response by 5 p.m. April 24. The RFP, supporting documents and submission requirements are posted on PRPA’s RFP webpage at prpa.org/RFPs.

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