Southern California Edison has issued a solicitation that seeks local energy resources to bolster grid resiliency — a departure from a typical utility approach to improve a transmission system.
The solicitation speaks to the new and growing use of distributed energy sources to solve grid problems in a pinpointed way. Local energy resources are increasingly viewed as a cost-effective alternative to more conventional centralized energy projects, such as power plant additions.
“Unlike other solicitations looking to increase capacity of the overall electric system, this solicitation is specifically designed to help increase resiliency for the Santa Barbara-Goleta area,” said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president of Energy Procurement & Management. “We are seeking to provide our customers with increased reliability in the event of transmission outages that could affect this region, and do so with local resources.”
SCE expects to use the local energy resources to meet an hourly need ranging from 15 MW to 55 MW over a 14-hour period per day (7:00 am – 9:00 pm). Depending on economics, portfolio fit, quantity of offers and other factors, SCE may procure a different amount.
The request for offers (RFO) lists a range of potential technologies that might fit the need, among them energy storage, demand response, permanent load shift, combined heat and power, fuel cells, solar plus storage, and renewable distributed generation.
SCE will evaluate benefits and costs in selecting local energy resources. The evaluation will vary by resource. For example, the utility will consider the ability of front-of-the-meter storage to deliver ancillary services in real-time — something it will not expect of other resources, except possibly solar-plus-storage.
Winning projects must be commercially proven and ready to run no earlier than June 1, 2019, and no later than June 1, 2020.
Contracts will run from 5 to 20 years, unless they are for stand-by demand response, which will be offered five to 10-year contracts.
Bid winners also must be able to connect to a circuit, load or lower-level substation served by the Goleta 220/66-kilovolt substation.
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Bids are due July 10. SCE expects to choose winners in February 2018 and seek approval of contracts from the California Public Utilities Commission in March 2018.
SCE has scheduled a bidder’s conference on March 22 at 10 a.m. (PDT). The RFO is available at scegarfo.accionpower.com.
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