Alabama Power taking offers for renewable energy

The Alabama Power unit of Southern Co. on Sept. 27 issued a request for proposals for renewable energy resources.

The RFP process allows Alabama Power the opportunity to review market offerings of renewable energy resources and determine whether there are projects that the company can pursue.

“Alabama Power supports renewable energy, where it makes sense for our customers,” said John Kelley, the company’s director of forecasting and resource planning. “Renewable markets change a lot, and this proposal gives us a chance to see what may be out there in the 2017 and 2018 timeframe.”

For a proposal to be considered under the new RFP, it must be either a renewable resource or an environmentally specialized generating resource. Eligible projects include solar, wind, geothermal, tidal or ocean current, low-impact hydro and biomass.

Projects involving gas from sewage treatment processes, solid municipal waste or landfills, and combined heat and power projects would also be eligible for consideration. The company is requesting “turnkey” proposals for facilities that the company would own, as well as energy purchase contracts with terms of 10 or 25 years.

The company already has solar projects under construction at two Army facilities in Alabama, and recently signed an agreement for a third party to develop a large solar facility in Chambers County in east Alabama.

Under a long-term contract with Alabama Power, Walmart will subscribe to a majority of the Chambers County facility’s environmental attributes, also known as renewable energy credits (RECs). Those RECs will be retired on Walmart’s behalf to help that company meet its renewable energy goals. Alabama Power is marketing the remaining RECs to other customers who have an interest in renewable energy.

In all its renewable projects, Alabama Power retains the ability to use the energy and the associated RECs for its customers, or sell that energy and the credits — together or separately — for the benefit of customers.

A notice of intent to bid must be received by 6 p.m. CDT on Oct. 14. Completed bids must be received by 6 p.m. CST on Nov. 15.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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