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Power Purchase Agreements for Grid-Aware Renewable Energy Procurement

9 May 2017

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with USAID and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), hosted this webinar—titled Power Purchase Agreements for Grid-Aware Renewable Energy Procurement—as part of the toolkit projects, a USAID and NREL collaboration designed to support countries in integrating renewable energy into the power system.

Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a key mechanism that utilities use to procure variable renewable energy from independent power producers. A PPA is a long-term (20-25 year) contract that codifies all aspects of the electricity sale, including the price of electricity and the associated legal obligations of both parties. The webinar focused on PPA provisions that can enable wind and solar technologies to enhance grid stability and contribute to power system flexibility. Key considerations including ancillary services, advanced telemetry, and automatic generation control were discussed. The discussion was followed with a guest presentation by Xcel Energy, a vertically integrated electricity utility in the United States and the largest wind buyer in the country, to discuss Xcel Energy’s Model PPA for wind power systems.

The webinar was be presented by Barbara O’Neill from NREL and Tara Fowler from Xcel Energy. It was followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience, moderated by Ilya Chernyakhovskiy from NREL.


Barbara O’NeillBarbara O’Neill

Barbara O’Neill is the Grid Integration Manager at NREL, where she leads projects and engages stakeholders domestically and internationally to provide information on renewable energy integration practices and technologies. Before joining NREL, she was Director of Development at EDF Renewable Energy for the Central Region, where her team developed utility-scale wind and solar project sites in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and Colorado. Before that, she worked at Xcel Energy in resource planning, where she negotiated renewable energy power purchase agreements. Mrs. O’Neill received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Pratt Institute, an M.S. in energy management and policy from University of Pennsylvania, and a Diplôme d’Ingénieur in petroleum economics from the French Institute of Petroleum. She is the author of Mexico’s Regulatory Engagement in Bulk Electric Power System Planning: An Overview of U.S. Practices and Tools and co-author of Advanced Grid-Friendly Controls Demonstration Project for Utility-Scale PV Power Plants, which explores ancillary services provided by a 20-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) project in Puerto Rico. Her current projects include work with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the government of Pakistan and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tara FowlerTara Fowler

Tara Fowler is the Manager of Renewable Energy Power Purchases for Xcel Energy. She provides leadership and direction in the negotiation and administration of long-term renewable energy purchase agreements between Xcel Energy and power suppliers. Previously, she enjoyed an extensive career in Xcel Energy’s Trading and Origination organization for over ten years. Tara currently serves on the board of directors of the North American Energy Markets Association and GROW, an internal Xcel Energy business resource group that explores and develops programs to help women succeed. Tara earned her BBA Management and BBA Marketing at the University of Iowa and her MS Global Energy Management at the University of Colorado-Denver.

Ilya ChernyakhovskiyIlya Chernyakhovskiy

Ilya Chernyakhovskiy is a co-author of USAID and NREL’s toolkit. He serves as the lead for NREL’s Scaling Up RE in Central Asia project under USAID’s Power the Future initiative. Ilya also supports various capacity building and technical assistance activities in the Asia region under the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP). Prior to joining NREL, Ilya was involved in economic development research at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Ilya earned his M.Sc. in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.