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18 April 2024

BC Hydro 2024 Call To Power—Overview Of Request For Proposal Documents

BJ
Bennett Jones LLP

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On June 15, 2023, the Government of British Columbia announced BC Hydro was proceeding with a call for new sources (the Call to Power) of 100 percent clean...
Canada Energy and Natural Resources
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On June 15, 2023, the Government of British Columbia announced BC Hydro was proceeding with a call for new sources (the Call to Power) of 100 percent clean, renewable emission-free electricity from large-scale projects, notably including wind and solar. As part of phase two of BC Hydro's engagement process, on January 8, 2024, BC Hydro issued a draft Request for Proposals (RFP). Organizations within the independent power industry, First Nations and stakeholders were invited to provide feedback on the draft RFP, and the resulting draft specimen Electricity Purchase Agreement (EPA).

On April 3, 2024, BC Hydro released the final version of the RFP incorporating feedback from the engagement process. The final RFP reemphasized the First Nations requirements and clarified other aspects as outlined below. This RFP is intended to be the first of many BC Hydro will issue in pursuit of the provincial climate targets.1

The background and the draft development documents of the Call to Power can be accessed here and all RFP documents, including issued Addenda and Reference Information can be accessed here.

Background on the Call to Power

The Call to Power is part of BC Hydro's response to the province's growing electricity demand. BC Hydro seeks to acquire approximately 700 GWh of new clean, renewable energy from greenfield facilities prior to fiscal 2029 and 3,000 GWh per year thereafter. The Call to Power is in line with the growing trend of procurement opportunities for renewable energy that we are seeing across Canada, as discussed in our previous blog, Unprecedented Opportunities Ahead for Renewable Developers Across Canada, and is BC Hydro's first competitive call for power issued in over 15 years.2

Summary of the Key Changes from the Draft RFP

The Draft RFP

Our overview of the draft documents, including the key terms of the draft RFP and the draft EPA, can be accessed here. This update outlines the key changes resulting from the stakeholder engagement process following the issuance of the draft RFP.

Updates to the RFP Process

The RFP updated the three key dates for proponent's participation in the RFP:

  • April 19, 2024—Competitive Electricity Acquisition (CEAP) interconnection request pre-submission deadline;
  • May 21, 2024—CEAP interconnection request submission date; and
  • September 16, 2024—proposal submission deadline.

BC Hydro encourages proponents to register with BC Hydro to receive updates and invitations to informational meetings. Notice to the selected proponents and the execution of the EPAs are anticipated to occur during December 2024.

The RFP clarified the formal evaluation process. BC Hydro will determine the most advantageous proposal through a comprehensive evaluation process outlined in Section 11.0 of the RFP. This process includes: (1) a conformity, completeness and conflict review, (2) an assessment of the eligibility requirements, (3) quantitative evaluation, (4) a risk assessment, (5) a First Nations consultation adequacy assessment, and (6) other additional considerations. Following the evaluation process, BC Hydro will select the preferred proposals to enter into an EPA.

Increased Benefits, Terms and Obligations Concerning First Nations Economic Participation

The revisions to the First Nations economic participation stem from BC Hydro's extensive collaboration with First Nations including the First Nations Energy and Mining Council. The RFP released details of the funding received from Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) under its Indigenous Equity Initiative. BC Hydro has confirmed CIB's intention to support successful proponents of the RFP by providing an optional loan package including: (1) a loan to finance the First Nations equity participation, and (2) an investment tax credit bridge loan. The loans available to First Nations will help finance up to 90 percent of their equity in a successful proponent.3

Further, the RFP has incorporated supplemental terms and obligations to confirm the successful proponent complies with the First Nations equity ownership requirements. The First Nation economic participation model includes:

  1. a minimum First Nations equity ownership of 25 percent; and
  2. additional credits for proposals that:

    a. exceed the required 25 percent equity ownership; and

    b. is supported by a letter from one or more project First Nations who are not equity owners of the project, confirming that additional economic benefits, other than First Nations equity ownership, have been, or are to be, received.

The First Nations equity ownership must be held by the applicable First Nation(s) for three years following the commercial operations commencement date (COD). The penalty for falling below the required First Nations equity ownership during this period was expanded to include both termination and/or a reduction in the energy price provided for in the Electricity Purchase Agreement.

The proponent is now obligated to provide a letter on the first three anniversaries of the COD from each applicable First Nation disclosing their current percentage of ownership. Proponents must also incorporate, as Schedule 4 to their proposal, all information listed in the RFP's First Nation Consultation and Economic Participation document. Proponents should understand that if their bid is successful, information from this schedule may be incorporated as terms of the EPA.

Footnotes

1. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2024EMLI0018-000470

2. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2024EMLI0018-000470

3. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2024EMLI0018-000470

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
18 April 2024

BC Hydro 2024 Call To Power—Overview Of Request For Proposal Documents

Canada Energy and Natural Resources

Contributor

Bennett Jones is one of Canada's premier business law firms and home to 500 lawyers and business advisors. With deep experience in complex transactions and litigation matters, the firm is well equipped to advise businesses and investors with Canadian ventures, and connect Canadian businesses and investors with opportunities around the world.
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