In what can only be seen as very good news for both domestic and international renewable energy industry participants, on June 27, 2016, the Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (the ‘IESO’) released its draft Large Renewable Procurement Request for Qualifications (the ‘LRP II RFQ’) and related prescribed forms for stakeholder review and comment. Stakeholders can provide feedback on the draft LRP II RFQ until July 14, 2016.
There are five key changes in this second round of large renewable energy procurement:
- Prohibited Communications and Non-Collusion Requirements: The revisions this time around endeavour to clarify the point that the IESO does not wish to preclude communication for the purposes of participating in public stakeholder engagement initiatives undertaken by the IESO or the government. The modified wording in this section also seeks to make it clear that the IESO does not wish to prevent proponent engagement with Indigenous Communities.
- Procuring upgrades to and/or optimization of Existing Generation Facilities: In June 2016, the Minister of Energy directed the IESO to explore opportunities to procure additional generation from technological upgrades to, and optimization of, existing facilities. Applicants wishing to propose upgrades must now submit a qualification submission pursuant to the process outlined in the LRP II RFQ. This creates an interesting opportunity for existing renewable energy plant operators.
- Qualification Submission Requirements: The Qualification Submission Requirements have been modified to require only two hard copies and one electronic version.
- Confidentiality: The requirements have been clarified to advise all RFQ proponents that they are expressly authorizing the release of information.
- Evaluation Process: The IESO has established two distinct processes for evaluating qualification submissions. The Evaluation Process follows a directive made by the Minister of Energy to the IESO in April 2016, aimed at automatically qualifying LRP I applicants as eligible for the LRP II RFP. There are now two distinct processes :
- The Simplified Process: This is only available for LRP I qualified applicants. The completeness requirements and mandatory requirements relating to the newly introduced Simplified Process are as outlined in the LRP I RFQ.
- The Standard Process: This is available to all those not using the Simplified Process, as well as those interested in qualifying for technological upgrades and optimization. The Standard process outlined in the LRP II RFQ is essentially the same as in the LRP I RFQ.