7.1. 2009 Solicitation
The IOUs propose similar solicitation schedules for 2009. That is, while particular dates vary, IOUs propose approximately the same window of time between important events.
We generally adopt the schedule reflected in their proposals. (See Appendix B.) We adjust the dates to be consistent with the date of this order. We limit the adopted schedule to major milestones. This permits IOUs and staff reasonable flexibility, just as we did in 2008.
We set a date, beginning with this solicitation, before which an IOU may not request an exclusivity agreement before continuing with negotiations. PG&E and SDG&E recommend such a date in principal but neither includes a specific date in its proposed schedule. For this purpose we adopt the date that each IOU notifies each winning bidder that it has been placed on the IOU's shortlist. It is then up to the bidder to determine whether or not to accept the shortlist position and execute an exclusive agreement to engage in further negotiations.
Finally, we adjust the date for submitting contracts that may be earmarked for meeting 2009 targets. The propose decision recommended December 31, 2009, but we move the date to April 30, 2010. We do this to provide a comparable amount of time as used in the 2008 solicitation. Moreover, as requested by SCE, we clarify that contracts (including those from the 2008 solicitation) are eligible for earmarking based on the date they are submitted to the Commission for approval, unless the resolution or decision approving the contract adopts a different date.
7.2. 2010 Plans and IRPs
We adopt the same basic approach here for the 2010 cycle as we used in developing and reviewing the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Plans. (D.05-07-039, at 29; D.06-05-039, at 58; D.07-02-011, at 61, D.08-02-008, at 46.) That is, we expect the filing and service of 2010 draft RPS plans and draft RFOs later this year for the three IOUs (e.g., by November 1 so they potentially may be accepted in the second quarter of 2010). This is also true for the IRP and Supplement for the MJUs. The specific schedule will be set by the assigned Commissioner or ALJ.
Moreover, as we have also done before, we authorize the assigned Commissioner to assess the adequacy of Transmission Ranking Cost Reports (TRCRs) used in the LCBF ranking of bids. (D.04-06-013, D.05-07-040, D.06-05-039, D.07-02-011, D.08-02-008.) The assigned Commissioner or ALJ should set dates, as needed, for utilities to request information for the TRCRs, to file draft TRCRs, and for parties to file comments and replies on the draft TRCRs. The assigned Commissioner should then assess the adequacy of the draft TRCRs, and determine whether the reports should be modified or other steps taken before the results are used in the ranking of bids. (D.05-07-040, Ordering Paragraph 7; D.06-05-039, Ordering Paragraph 7; D.07-02-011, Ordering Paragraph 5.)
We remain on a schedule which largely anticipates annual RPS solicitations for the largest three IOUs. We again encourage IOUs to consider proposing something other than an annual cycle. (See D.06-05-039, at 55-60.) We do this noting several things. SDG&E pointed out in 2006, for example, that the option for bilateral contracting essentially provides a continuous opportunity to obtain RPS resources. (D.06-05-039, at 56, footnote 23.) SCE is concerned that when IOUs are constrained to a procurement cycle that others are not there is increasing risk of harmful competition for RPS resources from ESPs, municipal utilities and out-of-state utilities. Commission-regulated MJUs (along with CCAs and ESPs) engage in RPS solicitations on a schedule that we do not dictate. In addition, external events sometimes result in our taking longer to approve a particular solicitation.61
There may be advantages and disadvantages to different types of RPS solicitations. The extremes might be (a) a very structured periodic (e.g., annual) solicitation or (b) a continuous solicitation. (See D.06-05-039, at 55-56.) As we said in 2006, we think there are other reasonable options to the approach we are now using. We encourage IOUs and MJUs to consider the options and, where feasible, propose alternatives that accomplish RPS Program objectives while mitigating some of the burdens placed on all stakeholders from an annual solicitation.
We also note that the next solicitation may be the last one for each utility to secure contracts to meet the target of 20% by 2010 (subject to flexible compliance provisions). In comments on the proposed decision, IOUs uniformly argue for a later date for the 2010 solicitation in order to allow incorporation of "lessons learned" from the 2009 solicitation. A reason for an earlier date, however, may be to secure additional contracts to meet targets, including a reasonable margin of safety. Based on comments from IOUs on the proposed decision, IOUs seemingly have a reasonable level of comfort in meeting targets. Should this change, however, we are open to IOUs filing a pleading asking for another competitive solicitation sooner rather than later. We do not specify the parameters here, but we note that it may be reasonable to hold another solicitation very early 2010 (perhaps just six or eight months after the 2009 solicitation) in order to provide a full opportunity for IOUs to meet RPS program targets. We make no such provision here since, at the moment, IOUs express no concern. We leave the matter open, however, for consideration by IOUs and stakeholders.
61 Approval of the nearly $2 billion Sunrise Transmission Project in late 2008, for example, prompted us to require further information from utilities for the 2009 solicitation.