Renewable Energy RFP Opportunities in Nova Scotia and Quebec
- Nova Scotia 2021 RFP
On July 10, 2021, the Nova Scotia government announced a Request for Proposals (“RFP”). This announcement is linked to the government’s aim of eventually supplying 10%, or 350 megawatts, of the province’s electricity from renewable energy sources, including solar and wind energy projects.[i] The RFP is part of a larger plan for new renewable electricity standards aimed at requiring that 80 % of Nova Scotia’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030. The RFP is administered by CustomerFirst Renewables, and is supposedly the first of several RFPs planned by the province.[ii]
The August 17, 2021 Nova Scotia elections saw a change in government, with Tim Houston’s Progressive Conservative Party replacing the incumbent Liberal Party, led by Iain Rankin. For a certain time it was unclear what this change would mean for Nova Scotia’s energy targets and ongoing plans for renewable energy projects.
RFP Project Status
The 2021 RFP process is still ongoing. As of October 15, 2021, the procurement administrator was considering inquiries and comments on the RFP Draft #1, with plans to release RFP Draft #2 in early November. October 15, 2021 was also the deadline for proponents to finalize their Interconnection Requests (which had to be submitted earlier and to be deemed valid by the Nova Scotia Power system operator, a division of Nova Scotia Power), or to provide the relevant regulators with notice of their intention of increasing the capacity of previously filed and queued Interconnection Request. This finalization step is required for any projects to be considered as “highly likely to receive a completed Feasibility Study by the RFP Proposal Submission Date, and be eligible to participate in the Province’s RBP [rate base procurement]”, per the RFP Project’s instructions.[iii]
A news release published on October 14th, 2021 by the new Nova Scotia Government provided confirmation that it does not intend to change direction with regards to ongoing renewable energy plans and priorities. “We have a strong commitment to sustainable prosperity, and our communities play a key part in developing climate-friendly solutions like clean energy projects,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “We encourage communities to bring forward their innovative, sustainable and green projects to help us reduce emissions and advance our building efficiency, clean electricity and clean transportation sectors.”
Once the RFP draft is finalized, the project’s next steps will be the final RFP outlining proposal submission requirements document, released on the RFP Date of Issuance which is expected to be early December, and the Notice of Intent to Bid form to be submitted by suppliers concerning the Rate Base Procurement. The successful proponents are expected to be selected in the Spring of 2022.
Further documentation and information is available on the RFP’s webpage.
- Hydro-Québec Notice Concerning Calls for Tenders for 2021
In a notice sent to its suppliers on October 15, 2021, Hydro-Québec announced details of its planned renewable energy projects calls for tenders. This notice indicates certain specifics and requirements for bidding suppliers, which are detailed in documents filed with the Québec’s energy regulator (details below). The notice also specifies that Hydro-Québec plans to launch the calls for tenders process later this Fall.
This notice is made subsequent to decree 906-2021 and the publication by the Government of Quebec, on July 14, 2021, of two proposed regulations. These proposed regulations include a call for tenders for a 300 MW block of wind power and a call for tenders for a 480 MW block of renewable energy, each under a 30-year contract, and require that Hydro-Québec proceed with the call for tenders process no later than December 31, 2021.
Regulatory Assessment of Evaluation Criteria for the Planned Calls for Tenders
Since September 22, 2021, the Régie de l’énergie du Québec (the “Régie”), Quebec’s energy regulator, has been overseeing a public consultation process for file R-4110-2019 assessing Hydro-Québec’s request filed on September 11, 2021 for the Regulator’s approval of its weighting grids and evaluation criteria used for calls for tenders for 480 MW of renewable energy (A/O 2021-01) and 300 MW of wind energy (A/O 2021-02), as well as the possibility of a contract renewal clause for the anticipated PPAs (among other things).[iv] This phase is not intended to amend the proposed regulations or decree 906-2021, nor is its purpose to modify the procedure applicable to calls for tenders.
Certain stakeholders have already expressed their views in written observations filed with the Régie. A list of interveners is available online, as well as a list of publicly filed documents. Hydro Quebec’s responses to the interveners’ comments were published on October 13, 2021, and the interveners’ reply to these comments on October 18, 2021. A first working session also took place on October 13, 2021 to present the proposed call for tenders procedure.
On October 22, 2021, the Régie published procedural decision A-0090, concerning requests for intervention, participation budgets submitted by interested persons, details of the project review framework, and establishing the regulatory assessment’s timeline. The Régie filed on the same day an Information Request (No. 8) with Hydro-Québec, with answers having been provided on October 28, 2021.
Based on the consultation schedule, next dates of interest will be the November 10, 2021 deadline for Hydro-Québec to reply to all information requests, the November 24, 2021 deadline for interested persons to send their comments on Hydro-Québec’s calls for tenders project proposal to the Régie and for interveners to submit evidence supporting their comments, and the November 30, 2021 deadline for Hydro-Québec to file its responses. A decision by the Régie must be rendered by December 2021 to allow Hydro-Québec to meet the proposed regulation’s mandated December 31, 2021 deadline for initiating the calls for tenders process.
This Canadian Energy Perspectives blog post was prepared and published by McCarthy Tétrault’s Power Group, which follows developments in energy and power law. For more information on upcoming Renewable Energy projects, please contact Jacob Stone, Louis-Nicolas Boulanger or Mathieu Leblanc
[i] See Nova Scotia’s Premier's Office, “Jobs Created In Rural Nova Scotia with Largest Electricity Procurement of Renewable Energy Projects”, Nova Scotia Government, July 10, 2021, online: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210710001.
[ii] Ibid (“Other RFPs will be issued at a future date to meet the needs of our renewable energy ambitions”).
[iv] See generally Hydro-Québec, “Demande d'approbation des grilles de pondération des critères d'évaluation des soumissions pour les appels d'offres de 480 MW d’énergie renouvelable (A/O 2021-01) et de 300 MW d'énergie éolienne (A/O 2021-02) et d’une clause de renouvellement aux contrats”, R-4110-2019, HQD-9, document 1, 2021-09-10. Contract renewal clauses are being considered for the 2 proposed contracts, the content being developed at a later period (“Les termes et conditions de ce renouvellement, incluant la durée et le prix, devront être convenus entre le Distributeur et le fournisseur concerné et feront l’objet d’une approbation par la Régie".)