The Maine Public Utilities Commission has issued an order approving a Request for Proposals for biomass energy resources. At stake are two-year contracts through which biomass resources may sell energy and related products to Maine transmission and distribution utilities.
Earlier this year, the Maine legislature enacted An Act to Establish a Process for the Procurement of Biomass Resources. Originally proposed as LD 1676 and enacted as Public Law 2015, Chapter 483, that law requires the Public Utilities Commission to initiate a competitive solicitation for 2-year contracts for up to 80 megawatts of biomass resources.
By order dated June 17, 2016, the Commission approved a Request for Proposals pursuant to its authority under the Act. The RFP document -- formally styled a Request for Proposals for the Sale of Energy from Biomass Resources -- was released at the same time. It asks for proposals from Biomass Resources for the sale of energy under one or more two-year contracts; bidders may also offer to sell capacity and/or renewable energy attributes as part of the contract.
The RFP defines a Biomass Resource as "a source of electrical generation fueled by wood, wood
waste or landfill gas that produces energy delivered to the ISO-NE
or NMISA region." Additional requirements and criteria apply, including minimum capacity factor thresholds and preferences for creating in-state benefits. It is possible that no contracts will be awarded, or that there won't be money to pay under those contracts. If the Commission concludes that this solicitation is not competitive, based either on
the solicitation process or
the resulting bids, no bidders may be selected. By law, payments are also contingent on the availability of funding for any above-market portion of the contracts, from a Cost Recovery Fund established by the Act.
Contract proposals are due on or before July 29, 2016. According to the Commission's materials, the RFP and all related documents and information will be available on the Commission's RFP website.