Some small hydro eligible for Southern California RFP

Small hydro projects that do not increase water diversions are among the renewable energy sources eligible for Southern California Edison’s latest request for proposals under the California renewables portfolio standard.

SCE seeks proposals by Sept. 22 from developers of small hydro, wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass for 10-, 15-, or 20-year power contracts. Eligible hydro projects must be of no more than 30 MW and must not require new or increased appropriation or diversion of water.

The solicitation, issued July 14, includes a proposal conference Aug. 10 to answer bidders’ questions. Details can be obtained from the utility’s Internet site, www.sce.com/renewrfp.

This is SCE’s fourth solicitation for renewable power contracts since 2002. Previous solicitations resulted in 13 new contracts totaling 1,674 MW. Last year, SCE bought and delivered to customers more than 13 billion kWh generated with renewable energy. SCE estimates that more than 16 percent of the power it delivers this year will originate from renewable sources.

California’s renewables portfolio standard program requires utilities to increase procurement of eligible renewable generating resources by 1 percent of load per year.

SCE’s renewables portfolio includes 128 MW from SCE-owned small hydro and 95 MW from independently owned small hydro. Its portfolio also includes wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass sources.

California ruling could assist renewables interconnection

SCE said a California Public Utilities Commission decision could remove a significant barrier to interconnecting renewables projects to the state’s transmission grid. The June 15 ruling addresses how expensive connections between new major renewable resource areas and distant utility grids are to be funded.

Current transmission cost recovery rules, established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, require renewable project developers to pay fully for transmission connections to utility grids, even if theirs is the first of several projects that eventually will use such connections. As a result, SCE said, many smaller projects remain on the drawing boards waiting for others to fund transmission projects.

The California decision authorizes utilities to pay for transmission projects, charge renewable generators for transmission service for their share of costs under FERC-approved rates, and recover remaining costs from customers.

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