CPUC Approves Renewables Portfolio Evaluations; Biomass Contracts Extended Despite Secrecy

By Published On: July 17, 2004

Guidelines for bid evaluation for the first renewables solicitation have been set down by the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission adopted Pacific Gas & Electric?s version of ?least cost/best fit? for green resources. After Southern California Edison reported that it is flush with renewables contracts, it is off the hook for this round of renewables solicitations, according to a commission spokesperson?even though the commission?s decision is ambiguous on the utility?s responsibility. The commission?s July 8 order states that the three investor-owned utilities have from July 9 to July 15 to put out bid requests. PG&E?s least-cost/best-fit formula focuses on determining the bid?s market value, calculating transmission and integration costs, evaluating portfolio fit, and considering factors other than market price. ?Least cost? includes bidders? energy and capacity and utilities? operating costs. ?Best fit? is tied to a utility?s needs. Bidders will be able to submit bids into multiple solicitations at any price. After a utility notifies a bidder that it has been short-listed, the utility can request exclusive negotiating rights for the project. In other renewables news, regulators?on a split vote?granted PG&E?s request for an extension of three biomass contracts totaling 44 MW. The commission approved the request despite strenuous objections by member Loretta Lynch, who was concerned about confidential pricing terms for the deals. Paul Clanon, Energy Division director, argued that pricing of the contracts with Madera Power LLC, Community Renewable Energy Services Inc., and Sierra Power should remain under wraps while changes in confidentiality rules are nailed down. It?s been nine months since the commission promised changes to confidentiality rules, Lynch retorted, adding that the public has a right to learn details of the contracts.

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