Nebraska: Small-Scale Renewable Energy Projects Sought by NPPD

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is seeking to purchase the energy and environmental attributes from small-scale renewable energy projects, ranging from wind energy and solar to methane, and incorporating them into its energy portfolio. That is the emphasis of a new request for proposal (RFP) issued by NPPD for customers served by NPPD retail and NPPD wholesale customers.

The RFP calls for a power purchase agreement from small-scale electric generation projects of less than ten megawatts nameplate capacity that qualify under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). Frank Thompson, NPPD engineer who is coordinating the RFP process, explained that the small-scale renewable energy resources could include small wind projects, solar energy, biomass (including methane recovery), low head hydroelectric or existing hydroelectric efficiency improvements, and co-generation via waste heat utilization or efficiency improvements.

“NPPD wants to provide an opportunity for the development of small renewable energy resources from potential developers who would like to sell power to a utility. It is also part of our goal of having 10 percent of our energy coming from renewable resources by 2020,” explained Thompson. He pointed out that NPPD’s wholesale utility contract agreement allow a wholesale utility customer to purchase the output from small-scale PURPA qualifying facilities that are less than two megawatts in size. If the wholesale customer chooses not to purchase the power, it can defer the purchase to NPPD. Power purchases from generation facilities sized from two megawatts to 10 megawatts can only be negotiated with NPPD.

In May of 2009, NPPD issued a similar RFP but rejected all the proposals due to a combination of high costs to purchase the generated electricity and the weakened economy, which lowered energy prices at that time, according to Thompson. He explained that eight qualified proposals had been submitted from the first request.

PURPA qualifying facilities must be sized less than 10 megawatts but greater than the maximum size allowed by the utility’s net metering policy. NPPD’s maximum size allowed for net metering is 25 kilowatts while wholesale customers maximum sized allowed for net metering may vary. The RFP calls for the generating facility or facilities to be operational on or before December 1, 2011, with actual in-service date subject to negotiations.

The RFP documents are available by accessing NPPD’s website at under Bids & Contracts. Potential bidders will need to register under the category of “Power Purchase Agreement from Renewable Resources” and then access the RFP information/documents as found under this solicitation. Deadline for submittal of proposals is September 1, 2010.