The True Costs Associated with Bidding on Renewable RFPs

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The True Costs Associated with Bidding on Renewable RFPs

At a time when state and federal governments are setting massive renewable goals, and seeking large-scale projects to help meet that demand, responding to Request For Proposals (RFPs) is now more than ever an essential part of large-scale Renewable Energy development.

With the scale of these recent Renewable Energy RFPs, not only is there a lot riding on the success of your bid submission, but these projects demand a wide range of mandatory documents, items with up-front sunken costs, and deliverables with long-lead times that can cause major headaches if left too late, and possibly lose you the entire submission.

It’s no surprise that the many costs associated with responding to RFPs can escalate quickly. The following blog was written to help you prepare for a winning bid, get the most value from your investment into an RFP submission, and mitigate some of the risks that can cost you the whole project.

Your RFP Response Investment

The cost of participating in an RFP far exceeds the bid fee. You’ve secured land contracts, conducted interconnection screening, budget analysis, resource assessment, preliminary engineering... not to mention internal time and resources. Depending on the size of the RFP, you could be spending over $100,000 on internal and external costs to create your Bid Response.

You and your team have invested substantial time and energy into creating a bid that you hope will grant you the success you deserve. With the scale of many of these renewable projects, there’s a lot to lose by failing to meet RFP submission requirements:

Project Income and Sunken Costs - Obviously, this goes without saying, but the success of a major RFP means money flowing into the company. Companies depend on RFP wins to get a piece of the massive government/corporate renewable project activity. When you lose an RFP submission, you lose both the project revenue and the costs sunk into the creation of the bid.

Future Win Potential and Credibility - Reputation matters. When a company wins an RFP, they not only win the business now, but they have a much higher potential of winning the business into the future. According to RFPIO, 84% of customers start their RFP process with a referral, and peer recommendations influence about 90% of buying decisions. 

Internal Time Opportunity Cost - You have an expert team that excels at developing renewable energy projects, and has a tonne of experience responding to RFPs and securing projects. Their time is a significant cost to the organization and that cost is wasted on failed RFP efforts.

Setting Yourself Up for RFP Success

It takes a lot more than having the lowest price on the page to win an RFP response. As you know, your company can be the best candidate for the job, have the highest level of expertise, and even offer the best pricing… but unfortunately it won’t guarantee a win.

Strength of your bid response begins with a strong service offering and competitive price, but there’s 3 factors that make or break a bid response:

  1. Submitting compliant Bids that fully abide by the written request;
  2. Developing an effective bid strategy with conscious team coordination; and
  3. Strong quality control.

The reality is, if you can’t communicate your value and expertise in a way that the RFP requires, your bid response is all for naught. RFPs are designed with a structured approach to evaluate criteria and are scored based on a number of different facets. It is essential you translate your strengths and services effectively to optimize what the particular RFP is asking for.

You can learn even more about common mistakes made when responding to RFPs in our blog The Top 5 Energy RFP Pitfalls.

If you don’t plan accordingly, you can easily miss deadlines, or get stuck waiting on items with long lead times. These minor oversights can quickly turn a winning RFP response into a disqualification.

Mitigating RFP Costs and Maximizing your RFP Response Value

As a large Renewable developer, you’re likely working across jurisdictions and responding to multiple procurement authorities, while juggling a number of major projects on-the-go. You have a great internal team, but there’s only so much they can do (especially in the midst of this massive surge in Renewable Energy procurement). At the end of the day, you want to focus more on what you do best, which is developing projects.

You often have large sums of money invested into RFP Responses and in some cases you’re spending over $100,000 between internal and external costs. Needless to say, there’s a lot of pressure to win projects through competitive procurement.

Third Party RFP Services act as an insurance policy for your bid submission.

A third party will not only make your bid response more competitive by increasing the quality of your submission, but they enable you to respond to more bids by freeing up internal time and resources. In most cases the small cost for bid quality control is relatively minor to ensure you’ve covered your bases on such a hefty investment.

Third Party RFP Services not only provide a high level of expertise in communicating your strengths to the Bid Evaluators, but they give you a much needed outside perspective. They can help you discover strengths you may not have considered, and they can quickly identify shortcomings in your bid response. Third Party RFP Bid Support helps in a number of ways:

  1. Ensures your bids are compliant so you are not disqualified over a simple oversight.
  2. Frees up bandwidth for your internal team to focus on more important or more valuable tasks.
  3. Provides strategy and management services ensuring you meet deadlines and secure long lead time items.
  4. Offers quality control and strategic recommendations to make certain your submission is the best it can be.

Compass Can Help Ensure RFP Success

Compass Energy Consulting provides you insurance and peace of mind when it comes to your renewable energy RFP responses. Whether you’re simply looking for quality control after creating a bid response, or you're looking for a full-service Bid Manager, Compass Energy Consulting can help you reach your goals and achieve RFP Success.

You can review our services by clicking below, or contact us for a free no obligation assessment.


Let your team focus on what they do best, and let Compass Energy Consulting take care of the rest.