The fourth edition of the RFP under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) procurement programme exempts returning compliant bidders from certain of the more onerous and time consuming qualification criteria of the RFP. In order to qualify for the exemption, a developer must re-submit a project, using the same project site, project layout and technology, and which was previously judged to be a compliant bid.
Developers must bear in mind that lenders will want to know prior to bid submission what steps the developer has taken to address the qualification criteria.
The exemption highlights the Department of Energy’s (DoE) positive response to criticism, following the third bid submission round, that not enough compliant bidders were awarded preferred bidder status. Of the 93 bids submitted in the third bid submission round, only 17 projects were awarded preferred bidder status, despite the acknowledgement by the DoE that many of the bids it had received were compliant. This is a bitter pill to swallow for developers who put in the time and effort and spent considerable amounts of money on putting compliant bids together.
A developer that qualifies as a returning compliant bidder will be exempt from providing a response to the following qualification criteria in its fourth round bid response:
- Land Acquisition and Land Use Criteria; and
- Environmental Consent Criteria.
This exemption will be welcome relief to developers, as these qualification criteria impose onerous demands on developers prior to bid submission, such as providing proof that all necessary applications for land use and rezoning have been made and identifying all environmental consents (other than the consents required to be in place for bid submission).
Developers must, however, bear in mind that despite the exemption, lenders will want to know prior to bid submission what steps the developer has taken to address these qualification criteria, and developers will need to have these issues settled if they are awarded preferred bidder status and want to successfully achieve financial close.