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Bates White evaluates wind power bidding process in Pacific Northwest

Bates White recently served as the Independent Evaluator for a Request for Proposals (RFP) from PacifiCorp for new wind power projects. PacifiCorp, an electric utility that operates in six states under the names Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power, plans to acquire up to 1,200 MW of wind resources located in and around Wyoming. This investment will be combined with construction of new transmission lines to help those resources bring power to Oregon and other states. Price estimates for this entire project reach up to $3.5 billion.

In June 2017, PacifiCorp filed an application with the Oregon Public Utility Commission for approval of its project and requested an Independent Evaluator to oversee the process. Bates White was selected by the Commission as the Independent Evaluator. In this role, the firm reviews the design of the RFPs and recommends changes that it believes will improve the outcome. Once the offers are received, Bates White reviews them to identify key factors that will drive the selection of bids and makes a recommendation to the Oregon Commission to accept or reject the results.

In the PacifiCorp case, Bates White noted in its final report that many bids had been rejected because, for those proposals to be successful, significant additional upgrades would be necessary to expand PacifiCorp’s transmission system. Bates White still recommended that the Commission acknowledge the RFP results, but suggested several conditions to protect ratepayers from key project risks.

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