The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) recently announced that in June 2015 it will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for an electrical energy storage demonstration project. The U.S. Department of Energy will make $250,000 in federal funding available for the selected project, and ODOE and Oregon BEST will supply an additional $45,000. The RFP is intended to incent 500 kW or larger storage projects that “improve electric transmission and/or distribution system operations, service quality, and reliability.” The RFP will be technology neutral, and ODOE hopes to receive bids from “utilities, energy storage technology vendors, energy service suppliers and electric utility customers.” Applicants will need to have either a “committed utility partner” or a letter of support from the utility with which the project will interconnect—potential bidders may want to begin laying the groundwork for those arrangements pending the RFP’s issuance. The recipient of the award will be expected to provide a minimum 50% cost share and will need to “start” the project in 2015. (ODOE’s press release does not explain what will be required to “start,” and presumably the RFP will address that question.)
This announcement comes hard on the heels of news that the Oregon Senate Business and Transportation Committee passed H.B. 2193 out to the full Senate following a hearing on May 20. The proposed legislation would direct electric companies, if authorized by Oregon’s Public Utility Commission, to procure certain energy storage systems. The bill passed the Oregon House by a vote of 58-2. We’ll report on the final version of the bill if it is enacted, which seems likely—in the meantime, a summary of an earlier version of the legislation can be found here.