Public Works-News

Posted on: July 20, 2017

City of Watsonville Request for Qualifications: Renewable Energy Project Development

solar on landfill

The City of Watsonville endeavors to offset 100% of municipal power needs and create a surplus of renewable power that can be sold back to the grid. In order to achieve this bold sustainability goal, the City has developed a Request For Qualifications.

Our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)

And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Please find the following Request for Qualifications for Renewable Energy Project Financing and Development for the City of Watsonville: City of Watsonville, RFQ, July 18 2017


Respondents are asked to submit their proposals by 4:00 PM on Friday, August 25th, 2017. 


Specifications for the proposal submission process can be found in the RFQ. Should you have any questions regarding the RFQ, please contact City Public Works Environmental Project Coordinator directly, Rachel Kippen at (831) 768-3165, or by email at rachel.kippen@cityofwatsonville.org.


City of Watsonville Pre-Submittal Mandatory Conference Call, 7/31/2017: Meeting Minutes

Meeting Roster for Mandatory Conference call, 7/31/2017: 

Please note that this roster is still being verified with phone numbers. If you called in on 7/31 and do not see your name or company represented, please email Rachel.Kippen@cityofwatsonville and confirm your participation and the number used to dial-in.

1- Lori Biella, Soltage LLC, Vice President, Business Development

2- John Karamanlis, BAP Power (dba Cenergy Power), Project Development Manager

3- Pamela Becker, Columbia Capital Management, Vice President

4- Beberly Velasquez, SunPower, Sr. Project Development Manager

5- Dan Ferguson, Namaste Solar, Co-Owner, Commercial Project Developer

6-  Felicia Williams, PFM Financial Advisors, Senior Managing Consultant

7- Phil Horwitch, Arraycon, Project Engineer

8- Pietro Lomazzi, Onyx Renewable Partners, Director

9- Jason Feng, Director of Channel Sales, Standard Solar, Inc.

10- Renecca Langton, AES Distributed Energy, Senior Analyst

11- Boone Birdsell, ABM Building Solutions

12- Dan Sullivan, Sandbar Solar and Electric, Director of Business and Commercial Project Development

13- Johnathan Pickering, Managing Director, K2 Clean Energy Capital, LLC (+1)

14- Jane Black, MMA Energy Capital, Associate

15- Sarah Tchechel, ForeFront Power, Project Development Coordinator

16- Bill Bumby, Stronghold Engineering, Inc., Renewable Energy Operations Manager

17- Ken Stout, Commercial Business Development Manger, Clean Solar Inc.

18- Jordan Ruttenburg, ForeFront Power, Sr. Sales Analyst

19- Chris Fennimore, Borrego Solar, Project Developer

20- Dustin G. Jolley, PE, CEA, LEED AP, Principal, Our Energy

21- Martin Carver, Zero City

22- John Paul Jewell, Program Development Manager, Opterra

23- Jeff Proswimmer, Johnson Controls Inc.

24- Randy Britt, Vanir Group


Meeting Roster for Optional Site Tour, 08/03/2017: List of Names, Company, Title

Meeting Minutes for Optional Site Tour, 08/03/2017: Agenda/Discussion Notes/Questions Posed


City of Watsonville Renewable Energy RFQ: Questions and Answers


Q: The cover letter (p2) indicates that the City will accept proposals for EPC or FA or both, but 5.1.1 seems to preclude the "both" option. Is the City seeking/open to joint responses that cover both the EPC and FA work? Does 5.1.1 simply mean that a single firm can't perform both roles, but that joint proposals are okay? 

 

A: Our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)

And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Q: What is the desired/planned timing of contract award and execution after SOQ’s are provided in August?

 

A: The City of Watsonville’s desired timeframe is to start the project within twelve months of project approval. Execution will depend on the project being proposed.


Q: Do you have any direction from the MBCPA in regards to how their plans may impact the Watsonville program?  


A: No.


Q: Will MBCPA be part of the review & approval process?

 

A: No. The City is thrilled to have Watsonville participating in MBCPA and we look forward to working together as this project progresses.


Q: Section 2.1.3 of the document indicated that the energy consumption data was in section 4 of the RFQ, but we could not find any energy data. 


A: Please see energy data provided here: City of Watsonville Energy Data


Q: Can the city provide a cost break-down of demand charges, and energy charges?


A: Please see energy data provided here: City of Watsonville Energy Data


Q: Can you please provide us with the data or a link to it.  Also, is there any way to obtain gas consumption data?

 

A: There is currently no gas consumption data that the City is making available.


Q: Can you provide a list of the city owned properties or an interactive map?  It is difficult to ascertain detailed property information from the map in Section 4.  

 

A: Please see listed map property Assessor Parcel Numbers: City Owned Land, City Parks, City Parking Lots


Q: Would the City of Watsonville consider utilizing co-generation and/or fuel cell systems at any of their facilities separate from the landfill to help reduce energy costs?

 

A: Yes.


Q: Please also let us know if any arrangements need to be made prior to visiting any of the sites. 


A: Arrangements need to be made for restricted access City locations. The City will be hosting a site visit on Thursday, August 3rd from 10AM-1PM with the goal of ending by Noon, starting at the City of Watsonville Water Resources Center, 500 Clearwater Lane. Please RSVP directly to Rachel.Kippen@cityofwatsonville.org  if you plan on attending and let us know how many people will be joining you.


Q: Is the City of Watsonville open to have storage as a solution in addition to solar? 


A: Yes.


Q: Are any of the sites located next to commercial customer load where customers are on demand charges and could benefit from having storage sited nearby to reduce demand charge?


A: Not at this time.  There are, however, certain City facilities and potential sites where TOU demand charges could be offset by ES.


Q: How much storage capacity would the City like to see included in the response?


A: However much capacity can be justified as having sufficient financial benefit for the City.


Q: This does not appear to be an opportunity for community solar, please confirm.

 

A: That is correct for the time being.


Q: Is the average rate of 21 cents per kWh equal to the maximum amount of the PPA the city would be willing to sign with a developer?


A: The City is most interested in reducing its electric expense so that the savings will reduce or eliminate any PPA cost differential. Responders should take into account that rate escalation, PPA term, early buyout, partial advanced payment, etc. may significantly affect the overall average rate. Additionally, the City is always looking for opportunities to reduce average per kWh costs through analysis of energy usage to identify conservation strategies that do not only include infrastructure changes, but also optimal use of energy during peak times and PG&E rate structure plans.


Q: What is the deadline for responding with qualifications?


A: Friday, August 25th at 4:00PM


Q: Is there a specific timeline that this site will need to be completed?


A: No.


Q: I see this is a 10-12 MW project.  Will the size depend on the site that is selected and would you like a number for both 10 and 12 MW projects or just one?


A: The capacity figures given in the RFQ are based on dated preliminary work performed for the City.  It is the job of the successful Responder to evaluate each site and determine whether, and how much capacity can be installed at the price needed to offer sufficient financial incentive to the City.


Q: As far as the land this system will be installed on, has this been selected or should we just assume a plot of land that can hold this amount of solar?  My main concern here is for the civil work that is going to be needed to make this land acceptable for driven piles.

 

A: We have provided a map of potential sites on City property, including our landfill. Additionally, a site visit is scheduled for August 3rd which may help answer questions related to land acceptability. The City-owned (closed) landfill is subject to strict environmental limitations, for example, driven-pile racking should not be considered.  If the Responder desires to propose off-site PV, the racking system used should, again, be the most economical for the land.


Q: Is the city of Watsonville looking for a single company to provide all the scope of services outlined in the RFQ, or is the city contemplating awarding parts of the scope to multiple companies?


A: Our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)


And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Q: If the city is looking to make an award to a single entity, would a single bid submission from a group of companies who form a team in order to meet the requirements of the bid be considered?


A:  Our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)


And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Q: Does the city use a 3rd party supplier for commodity electricity supply? If so, can you please provide the price and volume?


A: No.


Q: Can the city clarify how long of a PPA they are looking for, 15, 20, 25?


A: The City is seeking to work with a Financial Advisor who can guide us through this process.


Q: The RFQ references ROI and returns, though not applicable with PPAs. Can the city comment as to what their preference is for procuring renewable energy, lease, PPA, PPA option to purchase, performance contract?


A: The ROI and return indicators mentioned in the RFQ apply to the City’s finances only to demonstrate the financial benefits to the City.


Q: Is the city interested in a pre-pay option for a portion of the electricity to reduce the resulting electricity rate by leverage the city’s potentially low bond rate?


A: The City is limited in its ability to provide contributions toward project execution. However, the City will also consider all viable financial options.


Q: Is this for solar maintenance or solar installation services?


A:  As stated in the RFQ, the City is seeking to retain a company, or team of companies, with demonstrated skill and successful experience in (a) as agent for the City, obtaining and managing all aspects of project finance, and/or (b) as EPC contractor to the City for development of all approved generation sites.This scope includes project assessment, design, and installation. It would be ideal to have estimated maintenance costs included.


Q: The RFQ mentions on Page 10 that the City’s standard agreement is attached to the RFQ.  I was not able to find the standard agreement.  Would you please be able to point me to the document?


A: Please see several examples of standard consultant agreements for City projects provided here: City Consultant Contract, City Consultant Contract, Engineers or Architects with Employees, City Consultant Contract Ammendment


Please note that a project of this size may require additional or modified provisions and depending on the type of firm, you may be required to provide one of two types of agreements.


Q: Can you confirm if the site walk is mandatory to bid?


A: No, the site walk on August 3rd is not mandatory to bid on the project.


Q: Unfortunately we will be unable to attend the August 3rd site visit, but wanted to know if we could send a business partner in our place. Please advise if this would be a possibility


A: Yes, you may send a business partner in your place.


Q: Are you requesting a proposal or statement of qualifications? Both are referenced in the RFQ.

 

A: The City is requesting a statement of qualifications, not a full proposal. We encourage Respondents to consider all elements requested in the RFQ and have additionally encouraged that Respondents submit written responses that detail the qualification items requested.


Q: The only information about compensation for renewable energy through Monterey Bay Community Power is in the feasibility study. Does Watsonville realize that this issue may not be clarified within the timeframe of this project?

 

A: Yes, Watsonville understands the current status of Monterey Bay Community Power. The City’s primary goal is zeroing out and is additionally open to and interested in considering the feasibility of selling back excess renewable energy.

 

Q: Can you provide information on the estimated budget for this work?

 

A: There is currently no allocated budget for this work provided by the City of Watsonville.


Q: Is there any requirement for the Statement of Qualifications? It seems that some of the general requirements are all for the RFP and not for the RFQ.

Can you please clarify?


A: The City is requesting qualifications as outlined in the RFQ, which is not a Request for Proposals. We encourage Respondents to consider all elements requested in the RFQ and have additionally encouraged that Respondents submit written responses that detail the qualification items requested.


Q: Our firm was unable to attend the mandatory pre-submittal meeting yesterday but was unable to make it. I sincerely apologize as our company is still very interested in responding to this RFQ. Is there any way we can schedule another call?  

 

A: We appreciate your interest and are very sorry to hear that you were unable to make it to our meeting. Unfortunately, as we stated that it was mandatory to participate in order to submit, we are unable to offer any exceptions.


Q: What is the cover of the landfill like, what is under the cover, how thick the soil cover under phase one and two, what is the cover depth?


A: 2 feet of soil/vegetation

GCL membrane 

2 feet of soil


Q: Does the City have any preference or priority between the sites?

The City does not have any priority site and encourages participants to continue thinking outside of the box about how to zero out the City’s footprint.


Q: Why did the City chose to move forward on this project now? It is impressive that Watsonville has a wastewater, water distribution facility, landfill and airport and we are curious why this request is out now instead of sooner?

The City is proud of the facilities provided for our residents. The cost to operate and the recovery process from coming out of a recession has influenced the City's timeline. While the City has impressive infrastructure there is a tight budget to factor in keeping operations running smoothly. 


Q: Was the City required to have a glare study for the solar installed at Wastewater due to the City having an airport?

 

A: No, the City did not have to have a glare study, but did talk to all of the surrounding agricultural field owners.


Q: Can the City provide the location of the County’s Ameresco landfill gas facility?

A: Via google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fn5PtvZ6mTm

Q: Is the land surrounding the Water Resources Center Wastewater Facility City owned property?

A: No, the land surrounding our facility (designated on the map in the RFQ) is not City-owned.


Q: When are the different phases of the landfill closing?


A: Phase 1-2 have already closed, Phase 3 will close at some point in Spring or Summer of 2022 for final closure. We expect the last load of garbage to be in April of 2019.


Q: What is the clearance height of the tallest piece of equipment at the Municipal Services Center?


A: 17 feet clearance required.


Q: Will the Financial Advisor be provided office space within the City’s offices?  If not, would the Financial Advisor be required to rent temporary space in close proximity to the City’s offices or would meeting in person on a pre-determined schedule with regular teleconferences in between visits with the City’s designated project staff be acceptable?


A: The City will likely be able to provide a small area where they can work out of on the pre-determined days where in person meetings are required. Additionally, it is also likely that a certain amount of teleconferences in between working on site would be acceptable. This all remains to be determined.


Q: Are there any estimated timelines for the demolition of existing structures at the Water Treatment Facility?

A: The City does not have demolition scheduled for any current structures at the Water Treatment facility.


Q: Is the city expecting a full solar design analysis and pricing for proposed solutions in the scope of this RFQ?


A: The City is interested in submittals that provide sufficient detail for us to be able to adequately evaluate submittals  for cost and viability as related to the overall goal of providing 100% of City energy needs. 


Q: What do you mean by “special conditions” in section 1.4.1D?

(referenced here) 

1.4. Submittals 

1.4.1 In addition to submittals required in other sections of this RFQ, each Respondent shall furnish the following with proposal: 

A. A preliminary list of sites suitable for further development as distributed generation sources together with the reasons for such selections. 

B. Proposed organization for both engineering and field functions. Shall include names and qualifications of all personnel intended for assignment to this Project. 

C. A schedule of hourly rates of pay accompanied by overhead, profit, and fringe benefit adders. This schedule shall apply to all personnel including craft apprentice, staff engineer, and other on-site people. 

D. A schedule of rates for General Conditions, Special Conditions, Overhead Costs, and Profit Allowance

 

A: Special Conditions could apply to anything specific to the project and must be in alignment with the industry standard and would not otherwise fall under General Conditions or otherwise. 


 Q:  Page 19 – A term sheet for a PPA or Bank/Private Equity requires putting together the engineering calculations for a proposed project, something which an independent FA firm does not have the expertise. While page 18 (1.3.C) states that the Respondent is encouraged to take written exception to any part of the Specification and provide written alternative solutions, I wanted to clarify that our proposal would not be deemed non-responsive if  we respond to these requirements with a statement of exception and, as appropriate, an alternative. 


A: The proposal would not be deemed non-responsive if it responded to these requirements with a statement of exception and, as appropriate, an alternative.


Q: When the tour of the cities facilities was conducted I had referenced the possibility of utilizing the CA Code 4217 program through an ESCO model to create guaranteed savings that actually pay for the Energy Conservation Measures. (Lighting, HVAC, Water Meters, Etc..) Would the City of Watsonville approve this process? Our upper management wanted clarification before we put our response together.

 

A: We have utilized 4217, please see list of attached energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable projects. We would be interested in further energy efficiency options. Please reference Page 5, Item B- “Research and identify a broad suite of energy producing and savings options for the City of Watsonville.”


City of Watsonville Energy Efficiency Projects: Detailed History


Q:  PART ONE: I wanted to clarify the exceptions and alternatives clause. It is important that the City engage an independent Financial Advisor who has a fiduciary responsibility directly to the City and not partnered to the EPC. Understandably, the RFQ is geared more towards the EPC. As such, there are several requirements of the RFQ, under both General Requirements (Section 1A.3 – pages 6-8) and FA specific requirements (Section 2.1.4) which fall outside of the normal areas of expertise for an independent Financial Advisor. Examples of which include the following.

1.       Page 7 - Experience with Performing Construction Management.


A: Please have your submittal reflect the service that you will be providing. Additionally, please accept our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)

And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Q: PART TWO: Page 18 – Review of engineering/construction invoices. An independent FA firm normally does not review construction invoices, however it could review for mathematical accuracy or for accuracy within a budgetary framework only if so desired. Not with respect to verifying actual work performed or accuracy thereof.


A: Please have your submittal reflect the service that you will be providing. Additionally, please accept our apologies for any confusion with regard to language and the RFQ. The City of Watsonville is looking to make minimally one (1) award for:

  1. EPC
  2. Financing 
  3. Combined EPC/Financing that addresses the whole project (in one submittal)

And one (1) award for

  1. Financial Advisor to the City, (shall have no conflict of interest with any of the above submitting firms)

Q: Do you know when we might get a map of the airport and available land space for a ground mount?


A: Please find the maps and resources we have currently available. We will post additional resources should they become available.


https://www.cityofwatsonville.org/323/Facts-Figures-FAQs


https://www.cityofwatsonville.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/987


Q: From the site tour- do you have a map of the landfill gas?


A: Please see this map that shows elements of the landfill gas system: Landfill gas map


Q: Can you send the address or location of the Fowle Reservoir. Not much comes up on a google search and it’s not mentioned in the RFQ.


A: 1509 Freedom Boulevard. Additionally searchable on our APN list. 


Q: Can you point me in the direction of the PG&E Tie In information referenced in the site visit meeting notes?


A: We do not currently have this information available and we will likely not have it available prior to the RFQ submittal deadline of August 25th. We will update this page should that change.

 

Q: Has the City performed any energy efficiency audits and/or upgrades on the existing facilities?


A: The City has conducted audits and equipment upgrades at several facilities. These include aeration improvements at the wastewater plant, variable frequency drive water well pumps and replacement boilers at City hall and the Police Department. In addition, all street lights have been converted to LED units.


Q: Are any efficiency energy upgrades planned for, and if so, can the City provide a list of projects?


A: There are currently no energy efficiency upgrades planned at City facilities. 


Q: Are there any existing structural analyses of the prospective facilities available that will be shared with the prospective bidders?


A: Very little structural analysis has been done and only for the facilities that have already been fitted with solar.


Q: We are thinking about co-bidding this project.  If the co-bidder wasn't involved in the initial site walk or conference call, is that okay with the city?


A: Yes, that is alright with the City, because there still was representation on the mandatory conference call. 


Q: Are there any historical solar feasibility studies for any of the prospective facilities and/or sites that will be shared with the prospective bidders? 


A: A limited site evaluation at Watsonville airport was conducted as part of the SEED Fund project. The City of Watsonville does not have solar feasibility studies to share with prospective bidders.



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