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Companies question whether Maine wind project met state bid requirements

Other projects in the same bid were disqualified based on lack of site control, including one that made it all the way to the final stage in the process and was recommended, like the EDP Renewable project. The two companies, which submitted bids that weren't chosen by the state, first raised the concerns about EDP Renewable's apparent lack of site control in filings with state utility regulators in the past two weeks.

A northern Maine wind farm that won a state power contract appears to have lacked complete control of the project site, a crucial requirement to be selected, according to a company document filed with the state.

The mandate of site control helps the state reduce the risk involved with such power contracts, which are valued at more than $1 billion over their lifetime. The major risk would be approving a project that couldn't be built, resulting in delays.

Two clean energy companies, which also submitted bids, say the EDP Renewable's Number Nine Wind Farm appears to have not met the bid's requirements when it sent in its application and was chosen anyway. Their claims rely on the company's heavily redacted application, which fails to make clear the exact status of company's control of the land on which the wind farm would be built.

A spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which awarded the contracts, had no immediate comment on the issue when reached Thursday morning. A spokesman for EDP Renewables also had no immediate comment.

The state requires that applications for the contracts "must demonstrate that [the developer] has control, or a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A northern Maine wind farm that won a state power contract appears to have lacked complete control of the project site, a crucial requirement to be selected, according to a company document filed with the state.

The mandate of site control helps the state reduce the risk involved with such power contracts, which are valued at more than $1 billion over their lifetime. The major risk would be approving a project that couldn't be built, resulting in delays.

Two clean energy companies, which also submitted bids, say the EDP Renewable's Number Nine Wind Farm appears to have not met the bid's requirements when it sent in its application and was chosen anyway. Their claims rely on the company's heavily redacted application, which fails to make clear the exact status of company's control of the land on which the wind farm would be built.

A spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which awarded the contracts, had no immediate comment on the issue when reached Thursday morning. A spokesman for EDP Renewables also had no immediate comment.

The state requires that applications for the contracts "must demonstrate that [the developer] has control, or a right to acquire control, over a site for its proposed project, and any necessary easements or rights of way to interconnect the project."

The project's developer, EDP Renewables North America, said in its application that it had the "majority of land under lease," and that it was working to acquire land rights to build the 50-mile transmission line required to send the power to the electric grid.

EDP Renewables said it expects to get "purchase options" eight months after the power contracts are signed.

Whether that means the company had the minimum of a letter of intent from landowners when the application was delivered is impossible to determine, since EDP Renewables so heavily redacted its application and state officials didn't require the company to file that information publicly.

And even if the company has a letter of intent, it would need an option to buy or lease the land before the power contract is signed, according to the request for proposals.

Other projects in the same bid were disqualified based on lack of site control, including one that made it all the way to the final stage in the process and was recommended, like the EDP Renewable project.

The two companies, which submitted bids that weren't chosen by the state, first raised the concerns about EDP Renewable's apparent lack of site control in filings with state utility regulators in the past two weeks.

Thomas Melone, chief executive of Allco Renewable Energy, which proposed four solar installations in Connecticut, said the proposal shouldn't be approved until regulators review documents that show whether EDP Renewables had control of the site when it submitted its application.

Jennifer Arasimowicz, a lawyer with FuelCell Energy in Danbury, which proposed a large fuel cell park in Killingly, couldn't explain why the wind project went forward at all and concluded that it was chosen even though it didn't adhere to the bid requirements.

"It is not clear why Number Nine was not disqualified for lack of site control," she said in a letter. "Number Nine does not have the requisite site control, or even the right to acquire site control, mandated by the [request for proposals]."


Source: http://www.courant.com/busi...

OCT 17 2013
http://www.windaction.org/posts/38823-companies-question-whether-maine-wind-project-met-state-bid-requirements
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