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Army to spur renewable energy with $7 billion contract

May. 6, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By | By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
A field of solar collectors belonging to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard is seen in Swanton, Ohio.
A field of solar collectors belonging to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard is seen in Swanton, Ohio. (Master Sgt. Beth Holliker/U.S. Air Force)

Five companies have prequalified to build and maintain geothermal energy projects for the Defense Department, under the first phase of a $7 billion Army contract.

The contract will make it easier and faster for DoD installations to enter into so-called “power purchase agreements” — under which companies pay for and maintain renewable energy projects in exchange for set energy payments over time — by allowing installations to choose from companies prequalified and vetted by the Army and Army Corps of Engineers.

The companies are:

» Constellation NewEnergy Inc.
» ECC Renewables LLC.
» Enel Green Power North America Inc.
» LTC Federal LLC.
» Siemens Government Technologies Inc.

The Army Corps of Engineers — in partnership with the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force — announced the geothermal portion of the contact in a May 3 news release. The next rounds will focus on solar, wind and biomass energy projects and will be finalized throughout 2013, according to the Army.

“In our current fiscal environment, attracting third-party money to build renewable energy production facilities that will allow military installations to purchase energy at a pre-determined rate without building, owning and maintaining the facility is the right thing to do,” Col. Robert Ruch, commander for the Army Corps of Engineers center in Huntsville, Ala., said in a news release.

In April 2012 the Defense Department pledged to produce 3 gigawatts of renewable energy — 1 gigawatt each from the Army, Navy and Air Force — on its installations by fiscal 2025. Three gigawatts is enough energy to power about 750,000 homes.

John Lushetsky, executive director of the Energy Initiatives Task Force, which was created to help expedite renewable energy projects at the Army, said the new contract is a streamlined tool for DoD to procure large-scale renewable energy projects and help them meet their renewable energy goals.

“To reach the Army’s goal of deploying 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025 will require a different way of doing business with the private sector,” he said in a news release.

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