BSP-32: Please provide me a detailed summary of those projects that submitted a proposal as a brownfield site photovoltaic site under the Brownfield and Utility-Scale Solar RFP and precisely why those projects were not successful.

The results of the Brownfield and Utility-Scale Solar RFP were released on December 4, 2018.  No successful bids were received from brownfield site photovoltaic projects, and thus no projects were selected under the Brownfield and Utility-Scale Solar RFP.

For competitive procurements, such as the Brownfield and Utility-Scale Solar RFP, Section 16.111.5(h) of the Public Utilities Act provides as follows:

“The names of the successful bidders and the load weighted average of the winning bid prices for each contract type and for each contract term shall be made available to the public at the time of Commission approval of a procurement event. The Commission, the procurement monitor, the procurement administrator, the Illinois Power Agency, and all participants in the procurement process shall maintain the confidentiality of all other supplier and bidding information in a manner consistent with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and tariffs. Confidential information, including the confidential reports submitted by the procurement administrator and procurement monitor pursuant to subsection (f) of this Section, shall not be made publicly available and shall not be discoverable by any party in any proceeding, absent a compelling demonstration of need, nor shall those reports be admissible in any proceeding other than one for law enforcement purposes.”

This section allows only the names of successful bidders and the weighted average of the winning bid prices to be made publicly available.  Further, provided that there are at least three successful suppliers, prior Commission Orders allow the quantities awarded also to be made publicly available.  Information, including “a detailed summary of the projects that submitted” a proposal, is considered confidential and cannot be provided.

In terms of why those projects were not successful, the following explanation for how this outcome could arise was provided at the time. Section 1-75(c)(1)(D) of the IPA Act requires that proposed REC prices cannot exceed benchmarks based on market prices or other publicly available data for the region.  Benchmarks are established by the Procurement Administrator, in consultation with the IPA, the Procurement Monitor, and the Staff of the Illinois Commerce Commission, and are subject to the review and approval of the Commission.  Benchmark prices are specific to each category of product being procured, and to protect the integrity of the IPA’s competitive procurement processes, all aspects of the benchmark development process (including the resulting benchmark prices) are treated as confidential.

Consequently, each bid submitted must first meet or beat the benchmark price applicable to that category before proceeding to evaluation.  Bids not exceeding the benchmark price for that category are then ranked in order of price per REC, starting with the lowest price, until the annual REC delivery target for that category is met or until all bids that meet or beat the benchmark price have been ranked.  These bids are selected and identified by the Procurement Administrator to the Commission as winning bids.

Revised 7/25/2019 first posted 2/19/2019