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HPG-ATC|UW & GE Energy High Plains Gasification-Advanced Technology Center

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High Plains Gasification-Advanced Technology Center
Bob Ballard
Project Manager
Email: rballar2@uwyo.edu

Reponses to Questions Asked at the Jan. 16 Site Pre-Proposal Meeting

Question 1: Will UW share responses to all questions during this meeting and in the future with the public?

Answer: Yes, all questions regarding the RFP will be posted on the Web site at www.uwyo.edu/ge

Question 2: The RFP states in paragraph 3.5.B.: "Industrial natural gas should be dry, suitable for power generation with a minimum industrial pressure at 25,000 scfh." Is this a peak gas requirement or a continuous rate? And, does "scfh" stand for standard cubic feet per hour?

Answer: Although designs and test plans have not been finalized, the proposed HPG-ATC is expected to be a research facility where experiments will be intermittent with short runs of days to weeks at a time. The 25,000 SCFH represents peak-anticipated demand. Proposers should include current capacity. If the site does not meet this capacity, proposers are encouraged to provide incentives to meet this demand. The abbreviation "scfh" stands for "standard cubic feet per hour."

Question 3: Section 3.5 states in part: "bi-ways leading to and/or through site should meet Interstate specification for weight, width, height, and clearance. See American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges (Reference TG310 A6) and Guide Specifications for Highway Construction (General Collection TE180 G85x)." Access should meet the highway specifications in terms of width. Does that require four lane access?

Answer: The intent of this requirement is that access road must meet AASHTO standards for height, width, weight and clearance to accommodate construction and deliveries. The highway is not required to be a four-lane (interstate) highway.

Question 4: Are existing minerals leases considered encumbrances on property?

Answer: Yes.

Question 5: Is 4,000 foot elevation a precise lower limit?

Answer: Yes. (See question #23 on the frequently asked questions.) The altitude can be higher than 4,000 feet; there is no upper limit.

Question 6: In the last paragraph of Section 2.2, the RFP states in part: "Proposed sites must meet the Site Selection Criteria, and additional consideration will be given to proposals that meet and exceed the Site Selection Sub-Criteria." Is there a reference for these Site Selection Sub-Criteria?

Answer: It was the intent of the RFP for Section 3 to reflect the Site Selection Criteria in total and Sections 3.1 through 3.7 to reflect the Site Selection Sub-Criteria. 

Question 7: Is there a weighting of some requirements and will some sites receive more points than others?

Answer: Section 3 of the RFP describes the criteria and Section 7 describes the RFP requirements. Yes, some criteria are more important than others, but all requirements in Section 7 must be met.

Question 8: On the web site and within the RFP, there is a graphic design concept. Will there be an opportunity to get a CAD version, with permission to include it in proposal submissions?

Answer: A CAD version will not be provided, and it is not required to paste this diagram into the proposal.

Question 9 (& 33): In Section 3.5.G. Laboratory Facilities, please describe extent of equipment usage and if this means sole usage by UW.

Answer: The stated analytical equipment is what the researchers will need to perform their experiments. Proposers need to determine if the equipment is close by and whether it is available for commercial use. If not, we will need to purchase the equipment and it will be included in the cost of the design and construction of the facility. University of Wyoming, GE Energy, and third party researchers may require access to the lab.

Question 10: What kind of light emissions do you expect from facility at night?

Answer: There is a potential of a flare associated with this test facility and the facility will be lighted for security, safety concerns, and general parking lot lighting.

Question 11: Who has final decision on site selection?

Answer: The final decision on site selection will be by the UW Board of Trustees because the proposed facility is expected to be owned by the University.

Question 12: In Sections 3.1 (page 5) it requires that the site be considered greenfield land and 7.2.C. (on page 14), it requires the Proposer to state whether the land is greenfield or not. Define "Greenfield" and why it is a requirement.

Answer: A greenfield site is a property not previously used for industrial purposes or if used for industrial purposes has been rehabilitated and is certified to be cleared of all contaminants.

Question 13: What is the quality of the waste water flow from the plant?

Answer: The waste water quality and treatments are under study. The University is looking for the Proposer to provide information related to the availability of a municipal water treatment facility and what quality water it can receive. If the quality of waste water does not meet the effluent standards of the water treatment facility, the cost of additional onsite waste water treatment will be added to the facility cost. Similarly, if infrastructure is not available to accept water without treatment, that cost will be incurred by the facility. Proposers should identify existing infrastructure available at the proposed site.

Proposers should provide current effluents standards and planned future standards and the available date. Sites that can have water treatment facilities that can process waste water from gasification processes are preferred. Proposers can also include incentives to upgrade municipality's treatment capabilities. The inability to accept waste water from gasification processes does not exclude any site from the selection process.

Question 14: (Follow-up) Would the waste water be of a quality to be handled by a city water treatment?

Answer: This is not yet determined; the facility design will be based upon infrastructure provided in the proposal. Proposers should provide current effluent standards and planned future standards and the available date. Sites that can have water treatment facilities that can process waste water from gasification processes are preferred. Proposers can also include incentives to upgrade municipality's treatment capabilities. The inability to accept waste water from gasification processes does not exclude any site from the selection process.

Question 15: Section 7.2.B. states in part: "Please also include distance to nearest freight or rail unloading point." What is the method of coal delivery, and is there a standard distance from rail to site needed?

Answer: It is our intent to identify the rail facilities available for construction or operations. We have not determined the delivery method for coal and equipment.

Question 16: In Section 7.2.E. (page 15) it states in part, "Identify if long term handling for grey and black water is available." Can you define the quantities of grey or black water?

Answer: Quantities of grey and black water are still under study. Proposers should provide current effluent standards and planned future standards and the available date. Sites that can have water treatment facilities that can process waste water from gasification processes are preferred. Proposers can also include incentives to upgrade municipality's treatment capabilities. The inability to accept waste water from gasification processes does not exclude any site from the selection process.

Question 17: Do you have a prediction on air emissions?

Answer: We do not have an estimate of air emissions and waste products, but they will meet all local, municipal, state and federal regulatory requirements. The facility is a research facility that will operate intermittently. Conceptual designs of the facility have not been completed. We will meet or exceed all applicable state, federal, and local requirements for emissions. If you have additional requirements exceeding all state, federal, and local requirements for emissions, include these in your proposal.

Question 18: Will UW and GE Energy accept liability of CO2 emissions when the land is quit claim deed over?

Answer: Once UW takes ownership of the land from the proposer the emissions of the to-be-constructed plant would not be the responsibility of the Proposer who is no longer the landowner.

Question 19: Will GE Energy and UW be required to obtain an air permit from Wyoming?

Answer: No. The University, as owner of the facility, will be required to obtain the necessary state, local, or federal air permits.

Question 20: Section 7.2.M. states, "Performance Bond: The Proposer shall identify the company, agency or bank including address and contact person providing the performance bond or letter of credit worthiness for any proposed infrastructure improvement on the site." Can you give idea as to the size of performance bond?

Answer: The performance bond relates to any commitment that a Proposer makes to UW to improve the site. Therefore, the size depends on magnitude of improvement a Proposer makes and schedule for the same.

Question 21: Can you give an indication of what UW plans to do with the property when it is no longer operating it? Will it be remediated?

Answer: The facility will be disposed of like any other state asset when it is no longer needed. The equipment in the facility will be disposed of in compliance with contractual obligations. The University prefers to have free and clear ownership so that it may dispose of the property as required.

Question 22: Does the University prefer to purchase the property or does it have an interest in a long-term lease? What about property that needs to be subdivided?

Answer: Refer to question #22 in the Frequently Asked Questions on the Web site: www.uwyo.edu/ge. The University prefers that the site be granted to the University. A purchase (by the University) is second priority, and a lease (by the University) is third. If a lease agreement becomes involved, there would need to be a separate agreement that would be negotiated at the appropriate time.

Question 23: Cities, towns or counties have to go before their local council or commission for approval of their submission. Questions will be raised on emissions and water discharge for which there appears to be ambiguity. The Proposers will need support. Will GE Energy and UW provide answers to these questions before proposal submission?

Answer: We are soliciting a permitting agent and are meeting with the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for requirements necessary to form the conceptual design for the facility. When any facility is conceptual, some answers are not available.

In this RFP, we want to understand what your limits are rather than the reverse - what our needs are. Proposers should provide their requirements. The proposed facility will meet all applicable local, state, and federal permitting requirements.

Question 24: Once site selection is complete, when will construction start and when will the infrastructure need to be in place?

Answer: We expect to start construction early 2011. Infrastructure will need to be ready at that time.

Question 25: Is the 13.8 kv requirement the only acceptable electrical voltage for the plant electricity supply? For example, is another electrical supply acceptable?

Answer: Section 7.2 G.a. of RFP indicates a minimum substation power or 6,000 kva and 13.8kv to support the project. Proposals with 4,160 volts availability are acceptable for submittal.

Question 26: Is 6,000 kva the minimum substation power?

Answer: Yes.

Question 27: Are Proposers allowed to submit more than one site per proposal?

Answer: No, each site will require a separate proposal.

Question 28: For future site flexibility and expansion, should additional property (in addition to the 35 required acres) be provided adjacent to facility?

Answer: The 35 acre minimum requirement allows for some expansion.

Question 29: What is the maximum acreage you will need if additional lands are available?

Answer: The University would consider parcels around double the minimum size requirement. However, anything in excess of 35 acres is not a requirement.

Question 30: For electric and gas infrastructure, if the Proposer provides the distance to the site will UW provide pipe, wires and substation necessary to reach the facility?

Answer: The preference would be that the Proposer provides that infrastructure. This could be a determining ranking factor in site selection if it impacts either the budget or schedule for the project. It is important to be able to estimate related costs for each proposed parcel.

Question 31: If the proposed parcel is a greenfield, there would obviously be no utilities at this point. Would UW or the Proposer pay for this infrastructure?

Answer: The University will determine what it will cost for us to install necessary utilities to the facility, information a community can provide to us will help us determine what our final costs will be to design and build the facility. Our preference would be that the infrastructure/utilities for the facility be fully installed to the parcel. The Proposer needs to clearly state what is there today, what is needed to meet our requirements, and a schedule of when that would occur. We encourage you to include a budget and schedule.

Proposers should identify if the site is a greenfield site that was previously an industrial area.

Question 32: Can a county economic development agency or other Proposer submit multiple proposals for sites?

Answer: Yes.

Question 33 (& 9): With respect to the required laboratory equipment, what proximity to equipment is required? Where can this equipment be found?

Answer: The stated analytical equipment is what the researchers will need to perform their experiments. Proposers need to determine if the equipment is close by and whether it is available for commercial use. If not, we will need to purchase the equipment and it will be included in the cost of the design and construction of the facility.

Question 34: Will all of your laboratory testing be able to be done off-site from where the plant will be located?

Answer: In some instances testing can be done off-site. But, there will be need to analyze on site. As a result, the equipment should be as close as possible to the site. (Also, see questions 9 and 33.)

Question 35: If the Proposer provides the laboratory facility and equipment will you provide a use fee?

Answer: A commercial agreement is possible. Our preference is to own the equipment.

Question 36: Will the facility generate electricity?

Answer: No. The proposed HPG-ATC is expected to be a gasification research facility. While gasification is a central part of the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) process, an IGCC plant is an electric power generation plant. This center will focus on the development of gasification technology. It will not initially include a turbine for power generation.

The design of any power generating facility will be based on our thermal uses and will likely not provide extra electricity to sell to the grid. Again, note that the proposed facility will not be in operation continuously. We would be interested in potential users of syngas, etc., near the HPG-ATC.

Question 37: (Follow-up question) If so, will you sell it [electricity] locally?

Answer: The design of any power generating facility will be based on our thermal uses and will likely not provide extra electricity to sell to the grid. Again, note that the facility will not be in operation continuously. We would be interested in potential users of syngas, etc., near the HPG-ATC. (Also, see answer 36.)

Question 38: How certain can we be that the facility goes forward. Will there be a bond to cover costs if facility is cancelled?

Answers: The project is structured as a phased approach with go, no-go milestones for funding at the conclusion of each phase. The total cost of the facility is contemplated to be approximately $100 million. The state has committed $20 million to date. The Legislature will be asked during the current session for an additional $30 million of abandoned mine land (AML) funding for the State's portion of the $100 million cost. GE Energy has appropriated funding for the project.

Question 39: Since GE Energy is fully committed to the project, is there a contractual time for this obligation? Will GE Energy be involved in this project for 10 years from now or will they pull out in 2 years?

Answer: There are mutual milestones for GE Energy and UW. GE Energy signed the Joint Development Implementation Agreement for a 7-year facility lease with UW once the facility is commissioned in 2012.

Question 40: Would UW obtain all required construction and operating permits for construction and operation of the facility?

Answer: Yes.

Question 41: Concerning solid waste and slag disposal, what is the anticipated maximum volume?

Answer: This facility will run intermittently, so the answer is that there will be a broad variance in quantity and quality of slag. There is a potential for beneficial uses for the waste since it can be used for asphalt or shipped to a cement factory. When we determine the quantity of such products, we will then determine the best way to dispose of them. The RFP asks what the Proposer's landfill capacity is currently. If the Proposer has a landfill under construction or is increasing the capacity of an existing landfill, that should be included in the proposal. In addition, slag produced at the facility depends upon the type of coal being gasified.

Question 42: Will you use crushed or chunk coal, since each provides a different type of slag?

Answer: A trade-off study will determine whether to perform coal preparation on site or use prepared feedstock.

Question 43: If a Proposer is willing to provide a lump sum of coal on site, which PRB coal and in what quantities would you like on site?

Answer: We are interested in all types of PRB coal. The test facility is expected to perform experiments on a wide envelope of coal beginning with Rawhide PRB. Coal storage quantities have yet to be determined, but the facility is currently estimated to consume approximately 1 ton/hour and run intermittently. Coal storage quantities will be determined based on estimated runtimes required to perform necessary tests for a given feedstock.

Question 44: Will there be other coals used from outside Wyoming?

Answer: This is still under consideration. Use of Powder River Basin (PRB) coal is a high priority and blending is a possibility. Around the country all sorts of blending currently takes place to meet various performance, efficiency, and quality standards. We will likely come up with blends that meet various standards. PRB coal remains the most important feedstock even if blended.

Question 45: How do you define PRB coal supply in a geographic area?

Answer: The PRB is a specifically described geographic area. Broadly speaking, it is a fairly large area that stretches from southern Montana to Douglas and between Sheridan and Gillette.

Question 46: In Section 3.3, Encumbrances, what is your requirement from Proposer? What do you expect to see to qualify as an abstract?

Answer: A bonded abstracter, title company is required. The process they would go through would include a review of all parcel records within county and state records since the parcel property was patented from federal government. Abstract will have an index and summary and could be several hundred pages. It must be signed by a bonded abstracter.

Question 47: Does GE Energy have three people on governance board and could you name them?

Answer: Yes, Scott Parent, Keith White, and Paul Miller.

Question 48: What is the preferred format for video?

Answer: We prefer a commonly used format. Clarity and resolution are important. A video from a standard camcorder with 360 views would be good. Still-shot photos of the site are important as well.

Question 49: The deadline for proposal submission is February 9, 2008. Will there be any exceptions or extensions for individual Proposers?

Answer: Right now, February 9, 2008 is a hard and fast deadline. If an extension is determined to be necessary, everyone will be granted the extension. Visit the project website (www.uwyo.edu/ge) on regular basis for updates and instructions on submitting a credible proposal.

Question 50: (follow-up) What if the Proposer is having difficulty obtaining title to the land?

Answer: This is not a reason for extension. It is the Proposer's responsibility to have clear title. Individual deadline extensions will not be allowed.

Question 51: Do you have a proposed schedule for site visits?

Answer: We will conduct site visits after downsizing the submitted proposals that make the short list, which could include multiple sites. Being selected for a site visit does not guarantee that you will be selected. We will do investigations from an environmental stand point. Appendix A-2 gives an example of agreement for site access. Proposers should indicate if access is not possible when submitting the proposal.

Question 52: Environmental consultants may pose some issues of responsibility. Will you indemnify the Proposer?

Answer: No. UW is a state entity and cannot indemnify any entity.

Question 53: Will UW assume environmental liability from prior activity on a parcel leased to the University?

Answer: No, the University will not assume any environmental liability from prior activity on a parcel of land.

Question 54: Will UW give special consideration for ethnic/minorities for construction of the facility?

Answer: We will be following federal guidelines for contracting purposes.

Question 55: Will the intention and data from site borings be made available to the landowner?

Answer: The University of Wyoming will share the raw data with the landowner, with no guarantees or interpretation.

Conclusion:

The University is very pleased with the response to this meeting request and we look forward to your Proposals. Please ensure all proposals include site characteristics and /or incentives to meet requirement which will potentially reduce the capital and operating costs of our facility. If you have additional questions, please submit via the website: www.uwyo.edu/ge .

Because UW has central shipping and receiving, do not expect the proposal to get delivered overnight by UPS, Fed Ex, etc. If the proposal arrives after 4pm MST on February 9, 2009, it is late and eliminated. You may hand deliver to the office in 202 Old Main. Section 4.4 provides the mail-in directions.

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