Appalachian Power issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 1,000 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar generation resources with optional battery energy-storage systems. The RFP is its largest to date for wind energy resources.
Proposals would help the company meet renewable energy requirements set by Virginia’s Clean Economy Act (VCEA). Under the VCEA, Appalachian Power must meet annual targets as it works toward 100% carbon-free energy in its Virginia service territory by 2050.
The company said it plans to acquire the completed wind and solar projects through one or more purchase and sale agreements. Facilities must be at least 50 MW in size and achieve a commercial operation date of no later than Dec. 15, 2025.
Solar project bidders may also include an option for a battery-energy storage system. To qualify for consideration, solar projects must be located in Virginia; wind projects may be located outside of the commonwealth.
The utility said that all projects must be interconnected to PJM, the independent regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid in 13 states, including Virginia. Under the RFP, Appalachian Power may acquire a single or multiple wind and solar facilities from winning bidders who meet certain economic and operational criteria.
The utility said it would issue more RFPs later this year for energy storage and solar power purchase agreements. And, earlier in January, Appalachian Power asked its regulators to approve its plan to acquire or contract for 294 MW of solar and 204 MW of wind power over the next three years.
The plant which was filed with the State Corporation Commission, was the company’s second update since the VCEA became law. Appalachian Power said at the time it planned to meet its VCEA targets primarily through investments in solar, wind, energy storage, and purchase of market renewable energy certificates (RECs).
The company’s short-term plan is to add nearly 500 MW of solar and wind power to the company’s renewables portfolio over the next three years. By 2040, the company expects to have added around 3.3 GW of solar, 2.6 GW of energy storage, and nearly 3 GW of onshore wind to its current portfolio of wind and hydro resources.
At the end of the third quarter of 2021 around 64.5% of the power generated or purchased by Appalachian Power came from coal. Natural gas provided another 19.1%, while wind and hydroelectric power made up the rest.
The largest project in the utility’s short-term plan would add 204 MW of wind energy to the company’s renewables portfolio. Located in Illinois, the project was expected to be operational in December 2024, and would represent Appalachian Power’s largest wind resource project to date. In the early January regulatory filing, the company sought permission to recover costs associated with buying the facility.
The company also sought approval to recover costs associated with its purchase of two solar energy projects: a 50 MW solar facility in Berkeley County, W.Va., and a 4.9 MW solar facility in Amherst County, Va.
Proposals in the latest RFP for 1 GW of wind resources must be submitted by March 8. Any project selected by Appalachian Power is subject to approval by state regulators.
Appalachian Power is a unit of American Electric Power and serves 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). More information on the RFP is available here.