Renewable projects produce two products: 1) Energy (kWh) and 2) Environmental Attributes (EAs). The EAs include the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), as well as the carbon credits, and other benefits identified in the future. These two products can be separated in some instances.
Power is bought and sold under Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Tri-State continually monitors its load and resource position to ensure it can meet the current and future power needs of its members and other power customers. In analyzing its future resource needs, Tri-State considers many factors in determining the amount and types of power resources it secures. Among the many factors it considers: legislative and compliance issues, current resource mix, geographical location, transmission availability and resource cost.
When Tri-State decides it needs new power supply resources, it almost always pursues the acquisition of such resources through a competitive bidding process known as a Request for Proposal (RFP). RFPs are typically published in a variety of places, including newspapers, industry publications and on the Tri-State website. After a thorough analysis of the bids received, Tri-State will begin negotiations with a party or parties for the proposed resources. The structure of the resulting business deal may vary and could take the form of a PPA, a tolling agreement, a build transfer, joint ownership, or other ownership structure. Tri-State has also issued RFPs in the past where the most economical option would entail building a resource on its own.
Tri-State appreciates the interest of developers and other entities, however, it is highly unusual for the company to engage in bilateral negotiations for the acquisition of resources outside the RFP process. Entities wishing to participate in future RFPs, should monitor the Tri-State website for announcements related to future resource acquisition plans.
While Tri-State's current portfolio of renewable resources allows it to meet state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) compliance obligations for its members, Tri-State does buy EAs for members who participate in our voluntary green power purchase program.
It depends on the members' demand for additional EAs through Tri-State's voluntary program. On average, EA purchases are made one or two times per year.
For connection requirements, please see the Facilities Connection Requirements for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
Tri-State's Generation Interconnection Procedures (GIP) are available on its OASIS (Open Access Same Time Transmission System) web site.
Tri-State's point-to-point transmission rates for 2011 are: $3.48 / kW-month or $3,475.68 / MW-month.
Tri-State expects its first utility-scale wind and solar projects, which were identified through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, to be commercially available at the end of 2010. These projects, along with its member co-ops' growing portfolio of renewable energy projects, are diversifying the association's generation portfolio and will meet its members' renewable compliance obligations for several years. When it is determined the time is appropriate, Tri-State will issue an RFP to identify the project or projects that will best meet our members' needs. An RFP could therefore be issued as early as 2012 for the next tranche of renewable resources. RFPs are posted on Tri-State's webstite and in trade magazines.
Transmission constraints, available transmission capacity and costs to interconnect to Tri-State's system are among the largest drivers in evaluating a project's feasibility for a developer and attractiveness to the G&T. The ability to integrate variable generation may also vary depending on location. State incentives or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) multipliers can also play a role in the selection of an optimal resource for Tri-State. Contact Tri-State's member services department to ask questions about the interconnection process, transmission availability and future plans for upgrades or construction.
Generally, Tri-State has not been in a position to purchase renewable energy without EAs. Tri-State is a customer of, not a provider of ancillary services (regulation and energy imbalance) that are needed to integrate variable generation resources, and so it has not been well situated to execute transactions of this nature.
When Tri-State determines that more resources (renewable or conventional) are needed to serve the needs of it's members, generally a competitive bidding process is opened through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. This method assures the best value for our members. While Tri-State is not actively seeking to add renewable resources to its portfolio at this time, watch the Tri-State website for any announcements of upcoming or recently-issued Request for Proposals (RFPs). Once the RFP is issued you are invited to submit your project for consideration.
Tri-State is willing to listen to project descriptions and presentations when a mutually agreeable time can be found. However, this willingness to meet should not be viewed as anything more than an informational visit, as Tri-State's resource acquisition process typically follows a competitive bidding (Request for Proposal) process. For more information, please contact us at RenewablesToolkit@tristategt.org.
Under a member system's wholesale electric agreement with Tri-State, a member can choose to supply up to 5 percent of its power requirements with generation it owns or controls. If your project exceeds this 5 percent, then your project could be submitted during the next Tri-State Request for Proposal (RFP) process. If your project does not exceed the 5 percent, the member would decide whether it wants to pursue the project.
Tri-State is always interested in gathering market information and hearing from developers about pricing trends they are seeing or prices they are willing to offer on a project. That said, Tri-State finds the best pricing emerges from a competitive bidding process and will usually make resource acquisition decisions based on those Request for Proposal (RFP) results.