Published On: 05/09/2022
Question: Are the SolCast TMY files intended to be free solar resource accessible files? We are seeing a subscription requirement to source these files from SolCast.
Answer: SolCast is a paid subscription service and Duke will revise the PVSyst guidance in the RFP Plan to allow for other irradiance sources.
Published On: 05/18/2022
Question: What is the process for getting vendors added to Duke's approved vendors list? Do we need to submit that request before the May 5th, 2022, deadline for comments?
Answer: The May 5th deadline for comments on the RFP documents is separate from the process related to the approved vendor list. The Duke Energy Regulated Renewables approved vendor list (“AVL”) compiles the current preferred suppliers for solar components. The AVL is constantly under review and solar equipment may be deleted or added based on various criteria including, but not limited to: direct experience, independent 3rd party evaluations and reports, industry projections, feedback from other operators, performance modeling, and other reasonable criteria that the Company deems appropriate. The AVL is only applicable to Utility Ownership Track Proposals. The AVL as provided represents the current list of approved equipment suppliers and will not be subject to modification for purposes of the expedited 2022 SP; however, if additional vendors are added to the AVL prior to the Utility Ownership Proposal’s commercial operation date, the Utility Ownership Proposal may opt to utilize such new vendors so long as such utilization adheres to the Facility Interconnection Requirement and does not trigger a material modification under the Interconnection Agreement. The process for adding a vendor to the AVL is complex and requires thorough review. To add a vendor to the AVL, Duke must evaluate, for example, the safety, reliability, operational experience, maintenance history, and serviceability of the proposed vendor. In some instances, information technology (“IT”) security issues and grid stability functions must also be evaluated prior to adding a new vendor to the AVL.
Published On: 05/19/2022
Question: It is mentioned that Bidders submitting Controllable PPA Track proposals should submit a state-jurisdictional interconnection request under the North Carolina Interconnection Procedures or South Carolina Generator Interconnection Procedures, as applicable. Does it mean to simply apply for interconnection queue? Can you please elaborate this?
Answer: Yes, “Controllable PPA Track proposals should submit a state-jurisdictional interconnection request under the North Carolina Interconnection Procedures or South Carolina Generator Interconnection Procedures, as applicable" means that the proposal should submit an Interconnection Request application in the to enter the DISIS cluster (formerly the serial interconnection queue). While the requests for state and FERC are very similar, there are some differences, and the Interconnection Request application and corresponding Proposal and should align with the appropriate jurisdiction. For Proposals only bidding into Utility Ownership Track, they should complete a FERC Interconnection Request application, and Proposals bidding both PPA and UOT should submit a state-jurisdictional Interconnection Request application.
Published On: 05/23/2022
Question: We'd want to participate in Duke's RFP and were hoping you could provide updated information on Grid location guidance and planned network upgrades in Duke's service zone in North and South Carolina. It would be extremely beneficial for bidders and would aid in the selection of a suitable land block for bidding.
Answer: The DEP and DEC Generator Interconnection Requirements and Locational Guidance document is now available on this page: Duke 2022 Solar RFP Carolinas > RFP Documents.
Based upon MP feedback, Duke Energy will seek to describe the grid locational guidance being made available and any limitations based on currently available studies informing such guidance.
Transmission expansion plans must follow the FERC local transmission planning process and are approved through the NCTPC process. The Companies have identified strategic transmission projects and a process for advancing those projects, but the Companies are at the beginning of that process and those projects will not be reflected in the 2022 SP grid locational guidance maps.
NCTPC reports are published on the Reference Documents page at www.nctpc.org/nctpc/. NCTPC includes transmission upgrades >$10M.
Published On: 05/27/2022
Question: Can you please provide the reasoning for requiring a QF certification for PPA track respondents? We are struggling to understand what this competitive solicitation has to do with PURPA rules.
Answer: Projects opting to participate in the 2022 SP must be PURPA Qualifying Facilities because the 2022 SP Program is being implemented by DEC and DEP as an alternative PURPA program where avoided cost rates are established through competitive procurement.
In addition, projects electing to participate in the RFP PPA track need to meet the following requirements, as outlined in the RFP:
Bidders submitting Controllable PPA Track proposals should submit a state-jurisdictional interconnection request under the North Carolina Interconnection Procedures or South Carolina Generator Interconnection Procedures, as applicable.
Published On: 05/31/2022
Question: The provided PVSyst Instructions document states that PAN files used in project modeling must either be provided by or approved by Duke. What is the process to have the modules and available PAN files approved for use in this RFP?
Answer: Please submit the PAN file(s) and datasheet for the specific module that are proposed for review and approval by emailing them to CRA at Duke2022SolarRFPCarolinas@crai.com. The DEC/DEP proposal evaluation team will review and respond.
Published On: 06/03/2022
Question: Please confirm whether the fees and deposits associated with the Interconnection Request are due by 6/29 or if they are due by the end of the Customer Engagement Window 60 days later.
Answer: All Interconnection Requests for the 2022 SP Program must be submitted by 6/29/2022. The interconnection deposit is due at the time the Interconnection Request is submitted. See NCIP Section 126.96.36.199, SCGIP Section 188.8.131.52, and FERC LGIP Section 4.1.2 for details regarding Interconnection Requests and Interconnection Deposits.
Published On: 06/07/2022
Question: Duke has indicated that a project's participation in the RFP will satisfy DISIS milestones M1, M2, M3, and M4 (i.e., "Reasonable evidence that the project ....is offering to sell its output through a Resource Solicitation Process"). If a project initially satisfies a DISIS milestone from its submission of bid to the RFP but that project later withdraws from the RFP, is not shortlisted, or is shortlisted but then does not win, will that project be allowed time (after it falls out of the RFP process for any reason) to satisfy the relevant DISIS milestone by other means (i.e., executing a LEO or posting additional security if required)?
Answer: If a Proposal is not invited to remain in the 22 SP RFP, it can choose to meet DISIS readiness through avenues other than participation in the RFP and remain in DISIS. The RFP schedule is set to announce which Proposals are invited into Step 2 by 11/28/22, so any Proposals not invited to Step 2 would have until the end of that customer engagement window (12/26/22) to meet other readiness requirements or proceed as non-ready. Then, winners would be announced as early as May 11th and again, those Proposals that are not winners would have until the end of that customer engagement window (6/24/23) to meet other readiness requirements to remain in DISIS.
Published On: 06/16/2022
Question: We respectfully request that three additional tier one manufacturers be added to the Approved Vendor List for PV module suppliers. Given the current disruptions in solar supply chain and the potential for these to be ongoing in nature, we are investing corporate resources to bring new opportunities for the supply of modules that will help alleviate risk. As part of this process, we are paying utmost attention to quality, performance, bankability and ongoing availability that minimize supply chain risk. This diligence process has thus far led us to introduce three additional tier one manufacturers to our portfolio of supply, including Goldi, Emmvee, and Adani, who we believe satisfy the requirements required to build best in class, reliable and high performing solar projects in the Carolinas. We believe the addition of these three suppliers will provide opportunity for more competitive, least cost, and high quality projects to support the objectives of the 2022 procurement and broader Carbon Plan.
Answer: Based on Duke Energy’s market intelligence and research, Goldi and Emmvee are not acceptable suppliers of modules at this time, and will therefore not be added to the Approved Vendor List (“AVL”). Adani may be an acceptable supplier of modules provided that the MP agrees to complete, at their expense, a pre-production factory audit, inline production monitoring, and a pre-shipment inspection (including visual inspection, Electroluminescent “EL” test, and IV curve test of a random sample) for the specific modules that will be supplied to the project. Acceptable audit suppliers to Duke Energy are CEA (Clean Energy Associates) and PI Berlin. Duke Energy notes that only Utility Ownership Track proposals must use equipment on the AVL.
Published On: 06/20/2022
Question: Can you please provide payment details (account info, W9, point of contact) for the $10k proposal fee?
Answer: To submit a proposal in the 2022 SP RFP process and view the Proposal Fee payment instructions, please request access to the Bid Submission Portal by submitting a non-binding Notice of Intent to Respond form. This form is available at https://www.duke2022solarrfpcarolinas.com/RFP-Documents. Alternatively, you may submit an email requesting access to the Bid Submission Portal by emailing the RFP Manager at Duke2022SolarRFPCarolinas@crai.com.
Published On: 06/22/2022
Question: How does the "Interconnection Request Deposit" described in 184.108.40.206 of the NC Procedures differ from the "initial security" described in the third paragraph of 4.4.1?
Is this "initial security" the same thing as the "Interconnection Request Deposit" or in addition to it?
Published On: 06/23/2022
Question: The RFP under Proposal Size Flexibility header states that MPs will be permitted to identify the minimum size of the Facility (up to a 10% maximum reduction) that the MP is willing to provide at the same $/MWh price for Part A of the PPA bid (as defined in Section V.A of this RFP) or the same $/MWAC price for a Utility Ownership Track bid. Does it not constitute a major modification to the IX application procedure if such an occurrence occurs?
Answer: No, the North Carolina and South Carolina interconnection procedures do allow for reductions in MW output of up to 10%. Please see the applicable Interconnection Procedures for more details: NCIP section 1.6.1, SCIP section 1.4 and definition of Material Modification in the glossary of terms, or the FERC LGIP Section 5.4 in the OATT for DEC and DEP.
Published On: 06/23/2022
Question: As a point of clarification, the 2022P docs state that for PPAs the projects must be submitted as state jurisdictional but for projects that would be submitted for Duke ownership in the various paths, it needs to be FERC jurisdictional. Is this accurate, and if so would we need to submit two totally separate apps with payment for both per the DISIS Readiness Cost Responsibility Matrix?
Answer: If a Proposal is bidding in the PPA Track of the 2022 Solar Procurement, it should submit one state jurisdictional interconnection request and be 20MW to 80MW in size. If a Proposal is bidding more than one way into the 2022 Solar RFP (PPA Track and Utility Ownership Track) it should similarly submit one state jurisdictional interconnection request and also adhere to the PPA Track requirements, including size (20MW to 80MW). Only Utility Ownership Track proposals greater than 80 MW in size should submit a FERC jurisdictional interconnection request.
Published On: 06/27/2022
Question: In case, if we don’t win the bid, and still want to retain our position in the IX process with the submission of an unsolicited bid, how can we do that?
Answer: To participate in the 2022 SP RFP, a facility must have submitted a valid interconnection request during the 2022 Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study (“DISIS”) enrollment window [01/01/2022 – 06/29/2022] or, alternatively, have a fully executed Interconnection Agreement with DEC or DEP prior to 6/6/2022 and not be in default under such Interconnection Agreement but not also having executed a PPA. A facility who bids into the 2022 SP RFP and has submitted a valid interconnection request in the 2022 DISIS who is not selected as a 2022 SP RFP bid winner will be notified in time to instead pursue interconnection through participation in the 2022 DISIS process. Non-winners will specifically be notified prior to the close of the 2022 DISIS Customer Engagement Window, and may pursue interconnection by meeting the DISIS readiness requirements and otherwise adhering to the 2022 DISIS process. See NCIP section 4.4.2 and SCGIP section 5.3.2.
From the NCIP section 4.4.2:
Where a Competitive Resource Solicitation is administered as part of an annual Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster, an Interconnection Customer that is rejected in the Competitive Resource Solicitation may elect to continue to be studied as part of the Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster by continuing to demonstrate readiness or providing Financial Security, as required in Section 4.4.10 or 4.4.11. In contrast, where a Generating Facility is rejected in a Resource Solicitation Cluster Process administered separately from a Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster, the Generating Facility shall lose the Queue Position it held as part of the Competitive Resource Solicitation. If a Generating Facility is selected at the conclusion of the Competitive Resource Solicitation, the Generating Facility may no longer maintain more than one Queue Position.
From the SCIP section 5.3.2:
Where a Competitive Resource Solicitation is administered as part of an annual Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster, an Interconnection Customer that is rejected in the Competitive Resource Solicitation may elect to continue to be studied as part of the Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster by continuing to demonstrate readiness or providing Financial Security, as required in Section 5.3.10 or 5.3.11. In contrast, where a Generating Facility is rejected in a Resource Solicitation Cluster Process administered separately from a Definitive Interconnection System Impact Study Cluster, the Generating Facility shall lose the Queue Position it held as part of the Competitive Resource Solicitation. If a Generating Facility is selected at the conclusion of the Competitive Resource Solicitation, the Generating Facility may no longer maintain more than one Queue Position.
GEN 00015 (revised 06/28/2022)
Published On: 06/28/2022
Question: What is the process to submit a proposal in this RFP?
Answer: To submit a proposal in the 2022 SP RFP process, please request access to the Bid Submission Portal by submitting a non-binding Notice of Intent to Respond form. This form is available at https://www.duke2022solarrfpcarolinas.com/RFP-Documents. Alternatively, you may request access to the Bid Submission Portal by emailing the RFP Manager at Duke2022SolarRFPCarolinas@crai.com.
Proposals must be submitted through your Bid Submission Portal account by uploading a completed Bid Input Form for each proposal as well as the required supporting documents. The PPA and UOT Bid Input Forms are available in your Bid Submission Portal account and at https://www.duke2022solarrfpcarolinas.com/RFP-Documents.
Published On: 06/29/2022
Question: For the line item on the bid form that reads: "Upload a Google Earth KMZ File of Project Boundary"... do you want project boundary lines or lease areas too?
Answer: If there is a difference between the project boundary lines and the lease areas, please indicate on the KMZ file or provide separate files. The proposed POI location should also be included in the KMZ file.
Published On: 06/29/2022
Question: As per the DISIS Process, an application fee of $5,000 is required along with the study deposit that is tied with the AC project capacity as mentioned below -
$50,000 plus one dollar per kWac for requests >= 50 MW<80 MW
However, while filling the DISIS IX application form, we are getting this message that the payment amount for this application is $1,250,000 which does not include the application fee amount of $5,000. Could you please let us know, is this the final amount to be paid or there is any additional amount ?
Also, please share the mode of payment accepted and payment instructions along with the Wire/ bank details.
Answer: This response assumes a FERC jurisdictional project because the question references the $5,000 application fee. For a FERC project, please reference Section 4.1.2 of the LGIP. Payments for the Interconnection Request are accepted through the Interconnection Portal (via Speedpay). Per the LGIP, an Interconnection Customer would need to submit the following:
So, for the June 29th deadline, the Customer would need to provide $130,000 total for a 75MW project.
For Interconnection payments the Interconnection Portal (via Speedpay) is the preferred method of payment. For the $10,000 RFP Proposal fee, CRA can provide wiring details based on the service territory of the Proposal.
Published On: 06/29/2022
Question: Will Duke accept redlines or modifications to the NDA provided with the RFP?
Answer: Duke Energy declines to adopt proposed changes to the NDA; the NDA contains commercially reasonable, standard contract provisions that are applicable to all Market Participants and used by the Companies in similar transactions. Duke Energy is committed to treating confidential Market Participants appropriately and in accordance with the NDA.
Published On: 06/29/2022
Question: Row 220 of the bid form asks if the design and layout provide for energy storage to be added. Our understanding was that storage was not permitted in this RFP, and since the IR and bid form should be consistent, storage was removed from the IR. Will Duke allow storage to be added to the project later without requiring a restudy due to a material modification? Also, will projects with storage be scored better?
Answer: The 2022 SP RFP is limited to solar only projects; projects with storage are not allowed to participate in the 2022 SP RFP.
Published On: 06/30/2022
Question: PPA sections 1.55 and 1.78 allow the MP to post as security a parent company guaranty in substantially the form set forth in PPA Exhibit 6. Would a corporate guaranty from a Creditworthy parent company also be an acceptable form of Step 2 Proposal Security under RFP section IV.I.1?
Answer: Parent guarantee is not acceptable for Step 2 Proposal Security. Acceptable forms are listed in the 2022 SP RFP - Section IV.I.1 include cash, surety bond or a letter of credit.
Published On: 07/05/2022
Question: Could you please provide additional information regarding the assignment and cost allocation of multi-breaker switching stations when 200 MW's or more are located on a single line? Specifically, will the MP's be involved in that decision making? Should that cost be considered a Network Upgrade and therefore not factored into pricing? Will each project contributing to the 200+ MW be required to interconnect directly to the switching station? Alternatively, will projects contributing to the 200+ MW but not housing the switching station still be allowed to directly tap the line per the standard process?
Answer: Could you please provide additional information regarding the assignment and cost allocation of multi-breaker switching stations when 200 MW's or more are located on a single line? See discussion below.
Specifically, will the MP's be involved in that decision making? No.
Should that cost be considered a Network Upgrade and therefore not factored into pricing? A multi-breaker switching station (MBSS) is a Network Upgrade.
Will each project contributing to the 200+ MW be required to interconnect directly to the switching station? See discussion below.
Alternatively, will projects contributing to the 200+ MW but not housing the switching station still be allowed to directly tap the line per the standard process? Yes, if the size is less than 100 MW. See discussion below.
DISCUSSION: Projects 100 MW or greater are required to be connected directly to a MBSS, and each of these projects will be assigned 100% of the costs of the MBSS at their location. If multiple generators in a specific cluster are located at a single site where the total generation will exceed 100 MW, the generators in that cluster will share responsibility for the MBSS Network Upgrade by count. For example, a 75 MW request and a 40 MW request at the same site, totaling 115 MW at the site, will each be assigned 50% responsibility for the MBSS Network Upgrade cost. Only generators in the specific cluster will be assigned cost responsibility for new upgrades determined in that cluster study. Prior queued generators will not be assigned costs for new upgrades.
Once the 100 MW threshold has been evaluated and resolved, the 200 MW threshold for a transmission circuit will be evaluated assuming any new MBSS caused by the 100 MW threshold are in place. The 200 MW limit on a circuit includes earlier queued projects that will not be assigned responsibility for new Network Upgrade costs caused by addition of the new cluster projects. Not all projects (including the project(s) driving the MBSS) contributing to the 200 MW limit on a circuit will be interconnected directly to the MBSS. Where to build the MBSS will be determined by Transmission Owner engineering judgement, taking into account the size and location of all generators and loads on the line. All generators on the transmission line and in the specific cluster will share cost responsibility for the MBSS by count, regardless of where the MBSS will be located. Generators not located near the MBSS will be interconnected with a simple tap and will be solely responsible for the NU and IF due to that tap, in addition to their portion of the MBSS.
Published On: 07/08/2022
Question: We have a few questions that we would like answered in regards to the RFP submittal if applicable:
1. Are we able to select one project into multiple Solar Utility Ownership Categories, or would this require multiple bids?
2. Do certain fields only need to be filled out depending on which Asset Procurement category is chosen?
3. For projects that are bid as both PPA and Utility Ownership, can both options be selected for "shortlisting" following Phase I, or would the project just be considered "shortlisted"?
Answer: One Proposal (which is one interconnection queue number) may only select one of the Utility Ownership Track options; it may select Asset Transfer OR Asset Transfer + EPC OR Build Own Transfer. Fields are marked accordingly if they only pertain to a certain track, and if there is a question as to whether a field is required for a particular track; please submit that question. Projects that are invited to Step 2 of the RFP that have bid both tracks are still eligible to be selected in either track.
Published On: 07/12/2022
Question: Does Duke intend to take advantage of the federal ITC in a Build Transfer scenario?
Answer: Yes, any ITC benefits for a utility-owned solar project will ultimately flow through to customers, pursuant to the cost-of-service recovery established by HB951. The ITC benefit would be the same whether it is an Asset Transfer only Proposal, Asset Transfer + EPC Proposal, Build-own-transfer Proposal, or self-developed proposal. MP’s are instructed to provide details regarding ITC qualification details in the bid form, i.e. what ITC level will the project qualify for and by what method, etc. Refer to the bid form for specific questions.
Published On: 07/14/2022
Question: Some projects are early stage and have not had sub pad coordinates confirmed yet. Is this a required input?
Answer: While a bid may be submitted without the corner coordinates completed, this piece of information often slows the interconnection process and it is recommended to establish the corner coordinates early to help smooth interconnection study process as the project proceeds.
Published On: 07/14/2022
Question: Line item 144 on the Bid Input form tab for Utility Ownership asks to provide the "Corner Coordinates of Interconnection Facilities Pad:"
While we could identify and provide values for the substation, they would certainly change over time. We have provided POI coordinates. I am hoping that is enough, otherwise the corner values would be way off by the time for construction. Must we submit?
Published On: 07/14/2022
Question: What is the difference between nameplate capacity and generating capacity (AC)?
Answer: Nameplate Capacity and Generating Capacity are defined terms under the interconnection procedures.
Under the NCIP, the terms are defined as follows:
Nameplate Capacity - The term “Nameplate Capacity” shall mean the manufacturer’s nameplate rated output capability of the generator. For multi-unit generator facilities, the “Nameplate Capacity” of the facility shall be the sum of the individual manufacturer’s nameplate rated output capabilities of the generators.
Generating Capacity or Maximum Generating Capacity - The term shall mean the maximum continuous electrical output of the Generating Facility at any time as measured at the Point of Interconnection and the maximum kW delivered to the Utility during any metering period. Requested Maximum Generating Capacity will be specified by the Interconnection Customer in the Interconnection Request and an approved Maximum Generating Capacity will subsequently be included as a limitation in the Interconnection Agreement.
Under the SCGIP’s Glossary of Terms, the terms are defined as follows:
Maximum Physical Export Capability Requested – The term shall mean the maximum continuous electrical output of the Generating Facility at any time at a power factor of approximately unity as measured at the Point of Interconnection and the maximum kW delivered to the Utility during any metering period.
Nameplate Capacity – The term “Nameplate Capacity” shall mean the manufacturer’s nameplate rated output capability of the generator, based on alternating current (AC). For multi-unit generator facilities, the “Nameplate Capacity” of the facility shall be the sum of the individual manufacturer’s nameplate rated output capabilities of the generators. For inverter-based Generating Facilities, the maximum rated capacity or “Nameplate Capacity” shall be the sum of the inverters maximum rated capacity AC in megawatts.
The FERC LGIP only defines Generating Facility Capacity:
Generating Facility Capacity shall mean the net capacity, in kW or MW, as applicable, of the Generating Facility and the aggregate net capacity of the Generating Facility where it includes multiple energy production devices.
Published On: 07/20/2022
Question: Some of Duke's prior issued IAs have offered the Customer the option to elect to pay a Monthly Charge (based on some percentage multiplier applied to the Interconnection Costs) over the life of the IA rather than paying for the Interconnection Costs upfront or over the period of construction. Will the IAs for both DEC and DEP DISIS projects offer the Customer the ability to elect such a Monthly Charge? This would be helpful for Customers to better manage Interconnection Facilities cost risk under a UOT track bid on the basis of APA without EPC. That is, the Customer could avoid incurring Interconnection Facilities costs on "its watch" (i.e., before Closing) and shift the uncertainty/timing of payment for actual Interconnection Costs to "Duke's watch" (i.e., after Closing).
Answer: In DEP, the contributory and non-contributory payment options are available for state jurisdictional projects. In DEC, an interconnecting customer may request “pre-payment” for state jurisdictional projects. Both Interconnection Agreements (“IAs”) will allow the customer to pay in terms of a monthly charge or up-front.
Published On: 07/20/2022
Question: For projects that are being bid on a UOT “APA without EPC” basis, how should the uncertainties relating to the amount and timing of interconnection costs versus the timing of APA Closing be handled? The APA contemplates that all project liabilities (including interconnection costs) relating to the period prior to Closing be paid by the Seller and all project liabilities (including interconnection costs) relating to the period after Closing be paid by the Buyer. However, the date of Closing is not known in advance, and Closing only occurs when the various conditions to Closing are satisfied. We think the RFP’s intent is for the Seller to include in the APA Purchase Price that the Seller proposes to Duke the totality of interconnection costs it incurs prior to Closing, yet at the time the proposal is submitted there is no way for the Seller to know with any certainty how much those pre-Closing interconnection costs may be. While there are payment milestones at dates certain under existing IAs for some projects or IAs to be executed for projects in DISIS, the Seller can't know in advance which of the payment milestones will occur before Closing and which of the payment milestones will occur after Closing (i.e., because the Closing date is unknown and dependent on the satisfaction of Duke's conditions precedent to Close). Moreover, even if the Seller could know when the IA payment milestones occur vis-a-vis the Closing Date, the Seller is responsible under the IA and APA for the actual interconnection costs incurred by Duke in constructing the interconnection and upgrades as/when they occur regardless of the milestone payments under the IA. The actual cost may vary from the estimated costs and sum of milestone payments under the IA, because of inflation and the passage of time since the execution of the IA, and the actual costs may not be known until sometime after Closing because of lags in Duke's tracking and billing for actual costs. Considering these uncertainties, how would Duke suggest that the Seller estimate its pre-Closing interconnection and upgrades costs for the purposes of determining the APA Purchase Price? Would Duke be open to a post-Closing true-up process to ensure that the APA Purchase Price is adjusted to reflect the actual interconnection and upgrade costs incurred by the Seller relating to the pre-Closing period versus the estimated interconnection and upgrade costs the Seller assumed when developing the original APA Purchase Price it initially proposed to Duke?
Answer: Please refer to the provided form LOI/Term Sheet, which establishes that Seller is responsible for all interconnection costs including study costs and costs of executing and maintaining the Interconnection Agreement (“IA”) until the agreement is assigned to Buyer at Closing. APA closing will be conditioned on meeting the closing conditions, standard for selling a fully developed project. After the agreement has been assigned to Buyer, Buyer shall work directly with the Transmission Provider to cause the release or cancellation of security previously provided by Seller under the original interconnection agreement.
Published On: 07/20/2022
Question: A Project Evaluation Confidentiality Agreement (CA) is posted in the list of RFP documents on the RFP website. Please clarify the purposes of this CA and when it is intended to be executed? We take it that this is the CA that is referenced in the first paragraph of section 4 of the LOI and it will only be applicable for bidders shortlisted for an asset transfer and will be executed by the parties simultaneous with the execution of the LOI. Is that the correct interpretation? If not, the CA would seem to conflict with the confidentiality provisions in section IV of the RFP Plan Document and with the confidentiality provisions in the PPA, both of which provide for disclosure to potential buyers or investors in the project whereas the CA does not.
Answer: The Confidentiality Agreement is intended to be signed and submitted at the time a proposal is submitted to CRA for the 2022 Solar RFP.
Published On: 07/20/2022
Question: Under the Asset Purchase Agreement, pertaining to an asset transfer structure, the agreement appears to be silent on what occurs if construction does not commence or substantial completion is not achieved. Is there an intent to include a long-stop date concept where if either milestone is not achieved within the time allocated, the buyer would be in default, which default would provide appropriate recovery for the seller. This appears to provide an unlimited timeframe for the buyer and no recourse for the seller if the project does not proceed for any reason. Please advise of Duke's intent in these matters. Thanks.
Answer: The construction commencement and substantial completion payments are not guaranteed in the APA; however, the APA does include certain good faith covenants relating to advancing the project. It is not the intent of DEC/DEP to select an Asset Acquisition project, acquire development rights of such project, and then ultimately not construct such project. In the rare instance this may occur, the Buyer and Seller could contractually resolve the Seller’s concern. For example, the Seller may contract to repurchase the project, among other things.
Published On: 07/20/2022
Question: For PPA bids, can we provide an 8760 and reports generated by our company's Analytics Solar Resource Analysis team which utilizes a custom version of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) System Advisor Model (SAM). This version of SAM has proprietary code changes incorporated by our state-of-the-art Science team. Paired with extensive fleet wide data gathering has led to increased accuracy for solar generation through usage of the SAM software. SAM uses the same underlying POA irradiance model (Perez).
We have found that PvSyst has been known to overestimate energy generation within the industry.
Reference in RFP:
MPs shall include an 8760 hourly production profile for the first year of operation as part of their Proposal. The required production profile shall be generated in PVSyst. Production profiles should be based on energy delivered at the POI and taking into account all transformation losses to the POI, including final generation step-up transformer (GSU) transformation (see Appendix I). For example, transmission interconnected projects should include any transformational losses incurred through the GSU to the high-side of the interconnect. For transmission-connected Facilities, utility power factor requirements should also be included in determination of energy delivered to the POI . The production profile provided with the Proposal should not be adjusted for Daylight Savings Time.
Answer: Although Duke Energy prefers the use of the PvSyst model to predict the 8760 solar generation profile for the first year of production, the use of other industry standard PV modeling software is acceptable to produce annual PV generation profiles for PPA Track Proposals. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a recognized expert in the PV field along with their SAM model.
Duke Energy will review all proposed PV hourly modeling and may reject any proposal that does not conform to expected normal PV hourly profiles or reasonable annual capacity factors that are currently available with current PV technology today. Additionally, PPA contracts may contain solar generation performance metrics to also ensure that bid proposals will align with actual operational solar performance.
Published On: 07/21/2022
Question: Can you provide the expected security requirement amount for BTAs?
Answer: Article 9 of the BTA contemplates a letter of credit or guaranty, and the amount of said security will be negotiated between the Bid Winner and the Company.
Published On: 09/01/2022
Question: With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act occurring after the bid window closed, will Bidders be given the opportunity to amend their initial bid prior to the completion of Step 1? Or will only projects invited to Step 2 be asked to adjust their bid during the bid refresh period to account for the new legislation?
Answer: Only projects invited to Step 2 will be asked to adjust their bid during the bid refresh period to account for the new legislation.
GEN 00034 (revised 09/13/2022)
Published On: 09/13/2022
Question: As originally instructed, market participants were required to identify the ITC assumptions included in their bids, but this was prior to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act ("IRA"), which now provides a broad spectrum of ITC options that will be utilized differently by individual projects. For example, a given project may be able to take the ITC at 6%, 30%, 40%, or 50%. Additionally, solar is now eligible to utilize the PTC as well. As a consequence of these significant changes in federal law, it now appears that ranking bids for shortlisting prior to any bid refresh will necessarily produce unreliable results (e.g., prior to any bid refresh, a project that can only take the 30% ITC option may rank higher than a project that can take the 50% ITC option, but that ranking could change in favor of the project that can take the 50% ITC upon a bid refresh). Waiting until the April bid refresh date will not address this problem for purposes of ranking projects for shortlisting.
Therefore, [BIDDER NAME] requests that:
Answer: The 2022 Solar Procurement Program (“2022 SP”) RFP explains at page 16 that market participants will not be permitted to change pricing after the bid submission closes on July 22, 2022, unless they are invited to Step 2 and reduce their price in the bid refresh. Consistent with the issued RFP process rules, CRA and Duke Energy do not intend to allow for an additional bid price refresh, nor do they intend to change the timeline for the price refresh mechanism included in the 2022 SP. All process participants had equal access to information at the bid submission deadline and, as a result, the process rules do not provide any individual bidder a material advantage in the process. CRA needs to balance the potential benefits of an unscheduled refresh with ensuring fairness for process participants.
In accordance with the terms of the RFP, Projects that are shortlisted to Step 2 will have an opportunity to reprice at that time. CRA will review the extent to which additional shortlisting is necessary to maintain competitive pressure and to ensure projects that may significantly reduce price in response to the new tax incentives have that opportunity. Duke Energy has also advised CRA that the Companies are planning additional future solar procurements through which market participants can reassess their bidding strategies in those future procurements given the new tax incentives.
Published On: 11/07/2022
Question: Will Duke provide a list of surety companies that have historically issued surety bonds?
Answer: The Company does not maintain a specific list of acceptable surety providers; however, the Company prefers to receive bonds from US issuers rated A-, VII or better by AM Best.
Published On: 11/14/2022
Question: Can a Proposal that is selected as an Early Winner choose to decline the early win and continue to Step 2 evaluation instead?
Answer: Yes, a Proposal selected as an Early Winner may elect to instead continue to a Step 2 evaluation so long as: (1) the Proposal adheres to the same Proposal Security requirements as other Proposals invited to Step 2; and (2) the Proposal notifies the IE and the Companies of this choice at the time Proposal Security is posted. Note, however, that it is possible that the Proposal may not ultimately be selected as a final winner after the Step 2 evaluation.
Published On: 11/22/2022
Question: We are curious how much security is due if we already have an executed IA. Will it be like how a DISIS M1 payment would have been?
Answer: If the Facility had an executed IA and did not submit a DISIS M1 payment, the Step 2 Security amount would equal $20/kW based on the Facility’s IA capacity. For example, a 74.5MW project with an IA would post $1,490,000 as Step 2 Proposal Security.
Published On: 12/01/2022
Question: Thanks for the notification that our project was not invited to move forward to Step 2. Would it be possible to schedule a discussion to receive feedback? I would like to understand the areas that made the project uncompetitive so we can access how to adjust moving forward.
Answer: The Independent Evaluator is unable to provide feedback on Proposals submitted into the RFP while the RFP is still ongoing. Feedback may be requested after the RFP process has concluded, which is currently scheduled for June 2023.
Published On: 12/08/2022
Question: Could you please provide clarification around security and projects that have not yet received required permits? To be specific, we intend to post security next week and move our PPA proposal into Phase 2 of the process. If the unforeseen circumstance was to happen and the project was to NOT receive its required permits, would the security be released?
I'd also pose this scenario related to Performance Assurance being due within 5 days of PPA execution and permitting risk still being active. How would our performance assurance be treated in terms of it being released under permitting circumstances out of our control?
We don't believe permitting to be an issue for the project but more so making sure we understand how security/performance assurance would be treated since that risk is still out there.
Answer: Information on non-economic factors such as permitting can be updated in the bid refresh (on or about April 3, 2023 – date to be confirmed). If evidence is provided to the IE that the Proposal’s permit is denied before that time, the non-economic score would be updated and would significantly reduce the “Development Risk” category score (see Appendix F of the RFP). However, some Proposals will not have final permitting determinations at the time of the bid refresh or at the time of signing the relevant agreement (if they are selected as a winner after Step 2), and being denied a permit later does not absolve the Proposals from their security being drawn on or from contractual damages if the Proposal cannot move forward. Proposal sponsors are responsible for assessing permitting risk for their project and Duke would only release proposal security in the limited circumstances prescribed in Section IV.I.3 of the RFP.
Published On: 12/12/2022
Question: Could there be an opportunity to adjust BTA bids considering (1) the upgrade timelines of up to 7 years published in the Phase 1 DISIS report that make any EPC cost estimates used in bid pricing irrelevant and (2) the upgrade costs that will have to be carried by the seller during that extended period of time will have to be carried for a much longer time period than expected and are dramatically higher than anyone could have reasonably assumed? It’s unreasonable to ask bidder to carry much larger costs for a much longer period of time than expected (potentially nine years) with no opportunity for adjustment.
Answer: The Proposal Sponsor should review Section VI.D providing for a Step 2 bid refresh, which provides that “Utility Ownership Track bids must refresh their overall price and may not exceed their initial bid price.” The RFP does not provide an opportunity to increase proposal pricing. The Companies anticipate that further clarity on assigned Upgrades and cost to interconnect will be achieved in Phase 2 of DISIS. Per the RFP (Section II.A New Resources), "Duke Energy may decline to acquire a Facility under the Utility Ownership Track or decline to enter into a PPA with any bidder under the Controllable PPA Track if, in the opinion of Duke Energy, System Upgrades required to interconnect the Facility cannot be constructed in time to achieve Commercial Operation by November 30, 2027. ”
Published On: 12/16/2022
Question: When should we expect to receive information on next steps for Step 2 of the process?
Answer: Further information for Step 2 will be sent in January 2023 regarding the bid refresh.
Published On: 12/19/2022
Question: Does Duke intend to add any more projects to Step 2 based on securities that weren't posted by initially shortlisted projects?
Answer: As of 12/19/22, Duke does not plan to invite more proposals to Step 2 of the 2022 Solar Procurement.
Published On: 01/23/2023
Question: If a project submitted into the RFP is awarded at the end of step 2 and it's for a Build Transfer acquisition, is it required that the Duke EPC agreement (provided in the RFP docs) be the governing document between the Utility and the MP? If so, is that document negotiable? Could the MP introduce their own EPC agreement to be the governing document?
If the provided Duke EPC Agreement is required, then we know we'll need to flow those requirements down to the EPC Agreement between the MP and the EPC firm who is selected to construct the project.
Answer: Please refer to section 3.5 (Project Contracts and Subcontractors) of Appendix M Form Built Transfer Agreement. 3.5.1.(d).i., pasted below for convenience:
Purchaser shall approve any proposed fixed-price turn-key Contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the Project if such proposed Contract (x) is substantially in the form of and contains the substantive provisions of the “Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement” attached hereto as Exhibit A-1, as determined in its sole discretion, and (y) is consistent with the Scope of Work and the other terms and provisions of this Agreement (it being further acknowledged and agreed that any such Contract which is ultimately approved by Purchaser shall be deemed the “EPC Agreement”);
The Seller is allowed to propose their own EPC Agreement; however, any negotiated points or deviations from the Duke Energy form will be subject to the Company’s review, and approval will be within the Company’s discretion. If the Seller provides an EPC Agreement that conforms in form and substance to the Duke Energy EPC Agreement, and related Specification (included as Exhibit A-1), Duke Energy will approve the EPC Agreement.
Published On: 01/30/2023
Question: When considering a BTA reprice bid, in the Duke EPC Agreement Exhibit A-1-1 (Scope of Work), it mentions that Owner will provide PV modules and GSU. Also, in the Duke EPC Agreement Exhibit A-2 (Scope of Facilities and Equipment) section 1.2 (Owner Equipment), it states that the Owner shall provide PV modules, Plant Controller, SCADA, and GSU. Our understanding is that all equipment, including these items listed here, needs to be included in our proposal. Can you confirm that this Owner Equipment will not be supplied by Duke and needs to be included in our BTA proposal?
Answer: Confirmed. For BOT bids, the Owner (DEC or DEP) will not be responsible for any equipment.
Published On: 01/30/2023
Question: When considering a BTA reprice bid, in the Duke EPC Agreement Exhibit A-2 (Scope of Facilities and Equipment) section 3.8.2 (Cabling), it states Contractor will utilize underground DC collection system. Please confirm if above ground CAB system and above ground BLA cabling by Shoals or similar is acceptable?
Answer: Yes, above ground CAB systems are acceptable. The Shoals BLA cabling system is approved, and other vendors/systems may be submitted for review and approval.
Published On: 02/17/2023
Question: We are potentially considering the Utility Ownership Track for our projects and have seen some mixed messages on whether utility ownership requires us to secure purchase rights for the transmission interconnection facility. Does the Utility need to own the land the switching station/substation is on if they own the project (as opposed to securing the land by stepping into a long-term lease)?
Answer: Transmission land ownership requirements for the Interconnection Facilities is the same for PPA track and UOT track projects. If the interconnection is designed as a tap station, then a lease is acceptable. If the interconnection design is a ring-bus substation, then ownership of the land is recommended to limit delays. Prior to construction, ownership of the land is required.
Published On: 02/20/2023
Question: Can you please specify what the bidder will be responsible for under the PPA track and BTA track when it comes to Direct Transfer Trip of the facility? Is Duke installing all the required equipment for DTT or does the bidder have to install any equipment to comply with DTT? Who is responsible for the cost of the DTT equipment and installation?
Answer: The Interconnection Customer (PPA track or UOT track) is responsible for cost of the Direct Transfer Trip for the generating facility. Duke will install the required equipment and the Facility study will identify the specific equipment needed.
Published On: 03/24/2023
Question: To further clarify FAQ - GEN 00047, is there any communication connection between the generating facility’s substation and Duke’s Interconnection Facility? In other words, does the DTT operate Duke’s breaker in their Interconnection Station or does the DTT operate the Interconnection Customer’s breaker in the generating facility’s substation? We are trying to understand if we have to plan to install any equipment in the generating facility’s substation to comply with the DTT requirement, or is the full scope of hardware and control handled by Duke and only operates the Duke Interconnection Station breaker?
Answer: For Interconnections into the Duke Energy Progress, LLC (“DEP”) system: For a standard single breaker interconnection facility in DEP, the DTT equipment is in the DEP-owned facility. A trip signal received by that equipment will trip the DEP-owned breaker. In addition, a control wire is used to send a trip signal to the interconnection customer’s interrupting device. This allows for closing the DEP-owned breaker when the initiating event is resolved and the DTT scheme is “reset”, such that the interconnection customer has the ability to sync to the grid across their open interrupting device when ready to do so. An open device is required to check sync and the sync equipment is on the generation side.
For Interconnections into the Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (“DEC”) system: In DEC, the DTT protection scheme is setup similarly to what is described in DEP for single breaker tap interconnections. Instead of a control wire, however, a SEL-2506 is used to communicate statuses over fiber to the interconnection customer’s substation. Typically, the interconnection customer will trip their circuit breaker when they get the indication that the DEC circuit breaker has opened. DEC measures voltage on both sides of the DEC circuit breaker and will only issue a Close command when healthy voltage is detected on the DEC Transmission side and no voltage is present on the customer/generator side. The interconnection customer is responsible for installing equipment to sync to the DEC Transmission grid when they are ready to close their breaker.