Vermont utilities receive dozens of energy offers

VERMONT - Vermont's three-largest electric utilities have received dozens of new energy sales proposals in response to a comprehensive market request-for-proposal (RFP) issued late last fall.

"We are pleased with the variety, number and range of potential options we have received," Central Vermont Public Service, Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative said in a joint statement. "There are dozens of bids, ranging in duration from a year to two decades, representing a wide range of electricity sources, with a mix of costs and attributes."

In November, the three companies, looking to diversify their power supplies and plan for the expiration of major contracts with Vermont Yankee and Hydro-Quebec between 2012 and 2016, issued two solicitations, the first of several staggered RFPs they plan over the next couple of years.

In one RFP, the utilities jointly sought up to 100 megawatts of energy, up to 40 megawatts each for CVPS and GMP, and 20 megawatts for VEC. The second RFP, issued by CVPS and GMP for 150 megawatts of new energy, is contingent on the outcome of Vermont Yankee relicensing and contract negotiations. Utilities are in continuing negotiations for new contracts with Hydro-Quebec and Vermont Yankee, so they were not eligible to bid.

Bids were opened on the first RFP; the bids on the second RFP are not due until the end of the month.

"Bidders include power marketers, energy developers, existing and to-be-built power plant owners and banks," the utilities said. "In total, bidders offered more than 1,000 megawatts, so there is a healthy mix of potential options. Some of the bids are quite attractive environmentally, many offer significant baseload options, and some are unique and worthy of considerable consideration."

Over the next few weeks, the utilities will begin to winnow the field, and bidders with proposals deemed among the best will be asked to make final offers. The utilities hope to make awards and sign contracts based on the RFPs this spring.

The utilities said that among the factors to be considered in both RFPs are price, volatility or stability, fuel diversity, environmental attributes, public preferences based on the results of the state's public outreach process and reliability.

The RFPs are among several activities the utilities are undertaking to ensure a solid energy future for Vermont. CVPS, GMP and VEC, along with Washington Electric Cooperative and VPPSA, also sponsored a study of the possibility of building new in-state generators, and all the companies are working to develop renewable energy such as CVPS Cow Power and Greener GMP.

The RFPs were distributed to all New England Power Pool participants, power suppliers and developers. Bidders are from across the Northeast and Canada.


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