The Maryland Department of Transportation (“MDOT”) has issued a request for proposals (“RFP”) to create a Master Services Agreement (“MSA”) to select contracts to design, construct, finance, and operate renewable energy facilities and energy storage projects at MDOT locations throughout the State of Maryland. The terms of the MSA will be five years, with an optional two year extension.

The scope of the RFP encompasses solar, geothermal and microhydropower renewable energy systems. In addition to traditional renewable energy facilities, bidders may also propose energy storage systems and microgrid development. Bidders are encouraged to find cost-effective project financing, and the contractor will be responsible for applying for and obtaining incentives offered by the State of Maryland. Proposals are to be submitted in two parts: Part I should include the technical aspects of the project, and Part II should contain the pricing information required by the RFP.

Although the RFP places few limits on the types of projects to be considered, MDOT does include the following parameters:

  • Responses should include a management approach to facility implementation, a plan for executing the project to meet the scheduled operational dates, and a plan for operating and maintaining the facility for the duration of the entire term of the MSA.
  • While the RFP does not specify a maximum project capacity, each project “must not produce more power than [MDOT] can use or net-meter in any given location.”
  • Bidders must be able to demonstrate compliance with MDOT’s “Offeror Minimum Qualifications,” which include at least five years experience and capability to design, build, commission, finance, operate, and maintain a grid-connected renewable energy system.
  • Contractors selected shall control and coordinate with subcontractors and third parties, including other state and local agencies and the public.
  • Responses should identify key risk areas of the project and address how they will be managed.

With respect to pricing, the RFP requires bidders to include the price per kWh, the estimated kWh per year and total estimated cost per year for each contract year of the MSA. The price proposal should also include a not-to-exceed unit price for the first year of electric service. Proposals are due to MDOT by August 10, 2017, and a pre-proposal conference is scheduled for July 13, 2017. Written questions from prospective bidders will be accepted by the Procurement Office prior to the conference and will be addressed by MDOT during the conference as appropriate. More information and a copy of the RFP can be found here.

MDOT’s RFP echoes initiatives undertaken in other nearby states to encourage development of renewable energy and energy storage projects. Last week, New York’s state lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation (available here) directing the state’s Public Service Commission to develop an energy storage deployment program, including a storage procurement target. The legislation is awaiting signature by Governor Andrew Cuomo. In February, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation authorizing an investor-owned utility to petition the State Corporation Commission to recover costs for one or more pumped hydroelectricity generation and storage facilities, to be located in Virginia’s coalfield region, that utilize renewable energy resources for power. This trend is likely to continue as more states prioritize renewable development and recognize the importance of energy storage technology to the future of the electric grid.