GridSolar
Clean, affordable energy from the sun
A Smart Electric Grid for Maine
Boothbay Pilot Project
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is meant by the Boothbay or Pilot Project Region?

A. The Region is defined as the physical locations on the Boothbay peninsula that are electrically served by CMP subtransmission line 23. This is shown on the map provided as Exhibit A to the Request for Proposals.


Q. Does a Non-Transmission Alternative resource have to be located within the Pilot Project Region to participate in the Boothbay Pilot Project?

A. Yes. All NTA resources must be capable of reducing the amount of electric load that is served by CMP in the Pilot Project Region. This means that they must meet one of the following conditions:

  • The NTA resource must be electrically interconnected directly to a CMP distribution line and be separately metered by CMP.
  • The NTA resource must be directly connected to a customer’s load that is directly connected to a CMP distribution line and that has a CMP meter.

If one of these two conditions is not met, then the NTA resource does not qualify for participation in the Boothbay Pilot Project.


Q. How long is the Boothbay Pilot Project?

A. The initial term is for a period of three years, beginning mid-2013. This 3-year period is a test period designed to evaluate the ability of NTA resources to provide grid reliability in a cost-effective manner. If this test period demonstrates the effectiveness of NTA resources, it is likely that the project will be continued.


Q. If my proposed NTA resource is accepted through the RFP process, will I be expected to enter into a contract, and if so, with whom and under what terms?

A. Yes – all resources selected to participate in the Pilot Project will enter into contracts. The terms of those contracts will be consistent with the RFP, and will include additional contractual language that is standard in commercial contracts. The contract will be between yourself and GridSolar/CMP.


Q. In order to submit a response to the RFP, do I have to have a specific location for a project?

A. No. The RFP requests specific information about specific projects, to the extent that information is known to you. However, we will accept more general statements about proposed projects, e.g., 85 kW of solar PV at various locations in the Project Region, 25 kW of high efficiency motors installed at businesses located in the Project Region. All proposed projects must meet all requirements of the RFP.


Q. Is there a date by which a proposed NTA resource must be operating?

A. Yes. We are requiring that all NTA resources have commercial operation dates within the 3-year Pilot Project term. We will have a preference for those resources that have a commercial operations date prior to July 1, 2013.


Q. Is there a penalty for not meeting this date?

A. Yes, there is. The penalty will be the cost to rent an equivalent amount of diesel back-up generation to offset the delayed project for the length of the delay. We have set this figure at $2.00 per kW-month.


Q. How will you evaluate which NTA resources you will choose?

A. We are guided in our choice of NTA resources by the terms of the Stipulation approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The Pilot Project has a target NTA resource level of 2,000 kW with a minimum of 250 kW in each of the following categories: energy efficiency, demand response, renewable distributed generation (at least half of which shall be photovoltaic solar energy), and non-renewable distributed generation (with preference given to resources with no net emissions of greenhouse gases) -- assuming these levels can be met on a cost-effective basis.


Q. Will you be the final determinant of which resources are selected?

A. No. We will review all of the proposals and make recommendations to the Commission, which must approve all NTA resource contracts.


Q. You are seeking to acquire lots of different types of NTA resources. How do you propose to compare them to make your recommendations?

A. First, all resources must meet the requirements set forth in the RFP. Second, we will determine the amount of effective capacity each NTA resource provides us based on the methodologies set forth in the RFP. We will then evaluate the cost per kW of effective capacity (what we refer to as the Capacity Rating) of each NTA resource.


Q. Will I be paid up-front or over time for my NTA resource if it is selected?

A. You will be paid monthly over time. This allows us to monitor performance to ensure that it is operating as proposed over the full term of the contract. If an NTA resource fails to perform as proposed, the amount of the monthly payment will be reduced.


Q. What is the difference between the capacity of a resource and its Capacity Rating?

A. The Pilot Project is designed to be able to reduce loads in the Pilot Project Region when required for grid reliability purposes. These times are known to be when loads in the Pilot Project Region are at their highest – during the afternoon hours on the hottest days of the summer. If an NTA resource does not provide us any capacity during those hours, then it is of no use to us. Thus, for example, conversion of residential lighting to LEDs or CFLs, while it may conserve energy, does not provide us must value, since that lighting is not being used during peak load periods. In contrast, however, replacing old air conditioning units with high efficiency units is useful, since these units are operating during those peak periods and if they use less electricity, they will provide us reliability benefits.


Q. How will you know whether an NTA resource is providing you the benefits you expect?

A. Each NTA resource will be subject to a measurement and verification process, though these processes may vary by type of NTA resource. For generation and demand response resources, we will require that we have the ability to monitor performance in real-time, for the larger resources, or after the fact, for smaller resources. The information requirements for this are described in the RFP. We will use a different process for energy conservation resources. For these resources we will calculate Capacity Ratings based on the same methodologies used by ISO-NE under its Forward Capacity Market rules.


Q. Will you periodically test the performance of NTA resources?

A. Yes. We expect to conduct a number of tests during the 3-year Pilot Project to learn more about how NTA resources perform in actual situations.


Q. How many times do you expect to call upon my NTA resource over the 3-year term of the Pilot Project?

A. It is difficult to predict, since it depends on weather conditions in the Pilot Project Region, actual loads, the types of other NTA resources procured and your bid. At a minimum, we expect to call upon the NTA resources 3-4 times per year for test purposes, with each test lasting at least an hour. Because tests are designed to mimic situations which may occur in actual operation, they will not be announced in advance.


Q. Do you know how long you will need to call upon the NTA resources?

A. As noted above, we expect the test durations to be short. If we need to call upon the NTA resources for a grid situation, the duration will depend on electric conditions in the Pilot Region. However, given historic behavior of summer loads and weather conditions, we would not expect to have to call upon an NTA resource for longer than a few hours. Also – as a general rule, if we expect that the duration of a call will be longer than a few hours, we will try to call upon those NTA resources that can operate for longer periods of time first and turn these off last.


Q. I have specific questions about how you will deal with one type of NTA resource – such as Solar PV, for example. Where can I find more information about this?

A. The best place to look is to the RFP and the instruction sheet accompanying each NTA Resource Application Form and the sample applications. This can be found on our web site at www.gridsolar.com.


Q. I have an emergency back-up generator with 25 KW nameplate capacity. Can I bid 25 KW into your RFP?

A. If your generator meets the requirements that are set out in the RFP there are no minimum size limits. To obtain the full name plate capacity for this type of resource, the generator must be set up to run grid parallel and to be capable of remote operation by GridSolar.


Q. I installed a 4 KW solar system at my house last year. Can I bid this resource into your RFP?

A. No. Since your generator is already on line it has already been accounted for in CMP’s requirements for an upgrade to its system. We need two megawatts of additional generation that is the subject of this RFP. Resources that are on-line, registered in the ISO-NE queue, or have obtained an interconnection agreement with CMP are not eligible.


Q. How much are you prepared to pay for these resources?

A. The Commission will decide which bids to accept. Among similar resources there will be an obvious preference for the lowest priced bids. The Commission has not made a determination as to how it will compare bid prices across different resources.


Q. Do I need to own the resource that I am bidding?

A. No. You only need to have sufficient control of the resource to enter into a contract for performance and to set-up the resource to meet the requirements of the RFP.


Q. If the proposed off-shore wind resources get built, will this mean that your project will end after three years?

A. It is possible that off-shore wind development may improve reliability in the Boothbay region. However, wind resources are highly variable and not well correlated with peak summer loads, when the requirements are usually greatest. It is equally possible that even if significant wind resources are developed, they will have little value in improving the reliability in this region.


Q. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just add a single 2 MW generator at the Boothbay Substation?

A. Perhaps, but this approach would not satisfy the purpose of the Pilot Project which is to test as many solutions as is practicable. In addition, a single generator would present its own reliability problems, because an outage at a critical moment could negate the whole undertaking. Further, while this single generator may work for the Boothbay situation, it is unlikely to resolve grid reliability issues that emerge in other regions of the Maine. This Pilot Project is designed to test a more robust approach.


Q. Your map includes some areas that do not have CMP power lines. Can a project be developed where there are no existing lines?

A. Only if a CMP line is brought to the resource as part of the project AND there is net reduction in expected peak load as a result of the project. In this circumstance a bidder will only be able to bid the REDUCTION in load.