California — CPS Energy, the largest municipally-owned, fully-integrated electric and gas utility in the United States, is taking a significant step to diversify its generation portfolio and meet the energy demands of one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. The San Antonio, Texas-based utility, is releasing a global Request for Information (RFI) that will help in the development of a future Request for Proposal (RFP) that will incorporate non- or low-emitting generation and demand-side resources consistent with the utility’s Flexible Path vision.
The RFI will inform the design of two strategic CPS Energy initiatives, the FlexPOWER Bundle, and FlexSTEP. The FlexPOWER Bundle is the next step in CPS Energy’s Flexible Path, the overarching strategy to transform the utility’s generation fleet to lower and non-emitting sources for decades to come.
The information obtained through the RFI process will help CPS Energy seek a partner or partners through a future request for proposal process to implement the FlexPOWER Bundle. The FlexPOWER Bundle package of cutting-edge generation and firming capacity technologies will supplement 1,700 megawatts (MW) of aging power generation capacity and be broadly designed to meet the needs of a growing metropolitan service area. The FlexPOWER Bundle RFP will seek to add up to 900 MW of solar, 50 MW of battery storage, and 500 MW of new technology solutions.
The RFI is also seeking information for innovative solutions and technologies for the next phase of the utility’s successful energy efficiency program, the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP). STEP was launched in 2009 and was designed to empower customers to manage their energy consumption through efforts like energy efficiency, conservation and adoption of renewable energy (i.e. rooftop solar). The goal of the program was for savings of up to 771 MW, roughly the equivalent of a power plant, over the course of 12 years. The goal was reached early – in August of 2019 – a year ahead of schedule.
CPS Energy is now in the one-year STEP Bridge program as it prepares to present a new, long-term version of STEP, called FlexSTEP. FlexSTEP will be designed to meet the changing needs of our customers and introduce new energy efficiency technologies.
“Our CPS Energy team looks forward to joining forces with global energy innovators who are interested in partnering with us on our Flexible Path into the future. We invite innovative energy and technology providers to participate in this RFI and to provide their ideas on how to transform our generation sources to power our future,” said Paula Gold-Williams, President & CEO of CPS Energy.
“The FlexPOWER Bundle initiative is as exciting as it is important. CPS Energy has shown it is willing to embrace the kind of bold innovation required to remain on the cutting edge of technologies and power generation solutions that we need for a clean, sustainable energy future,” said Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio. “In recent years, the utility has come a long way in developing efficient renewable energy sources, and CPS Energy’s commitment to continue leading the way is indisputable.”
CPS Energy’s Guiding Pillars of Reliability, Customer Affordability, Security, Safety, Environmental Responsibility and Resiliency are at the basis of its Flexible Path strategy and all the utility’s decision-making processes. As a municipally-owned utility, CPS Energy engages in actively listening to its customers and community. Through a survey of stakeholders and customers, CPS Energy knows affordability and service reliability are paramount to customer satisfaction.
CPS Energy is also committed to contributing to an environmentally clean and sustainable future for the Greater San Antonio region. To that end, the RFI confirms the utility’s continued interest in solar photovoltaic, energy storage, demand response, and other low-emitting sources to add more year-round, all-weather solutions. Through the RFI process and subsequent RFP, CPS Energy is seeking to maintain its status as a leader in renewable energy generation, as well as energy efficiency and conservation.
“We challenge ourselves every day to think globally and act locally. We are therefore passionate about providing the most beneficial technologies to our customers. We owe it to our community to continue to maximize the assets they own, while introducing more renewable and new technologies to take us solidly into the future,” Gold-Williams said.