U.S. Army renewable energy initiative advances

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With plans to issue solicitations for three renewable energy projects before the end of the year, after recently releasing requests for proposals (RFPs) for two others, the U.S. Army has taken a step toward its goal to produce 1 GW of renewable energy at its installations by 2025.

At the same time, the Energy Initiatives Task Force — the Army's one-stop office for implementing large-scale projects at its installations — and the Army Corps of Engineers are evaluating industry responses to the multi-award task order contract (MATOC) RFP issued last year.

The Army intends to rely on the MATOC to procure $7 billion worth of renewable energy — using solar, wind, geothermal and biomass technologies — through power purchase agreements lasting up to 30 years.

The Army this week said it plans to announce awards under that procurement before the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2013, with all awards completed by the end of the calendar year, according to the office of the assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment.

Meanwhile, the task force plans to carry out RFPs or enhanced use leases for projects at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Irwin, Calif., and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in 2013.

At Fort Bliss, officials are planning a 20 MW solar photovoltaic project that will be carried out in partnership with El Paso Electric utility. Initially the system will provide peak off-grid power; plans, however, call for it to be integrated with a microgrid and offer the post complete energy security.

In October, the Army and the Hawaiian Electric Company signed a memorandum of understanding for the utility to lease Army land to build and operate a 52-megawatt, biodiesel-fired power plant on Oahu intended to increase energy security for the Army.

Earlier, the task force partnered with Defense Logistics Agency Energy to release RFPs for a 15 MW solar photovoltaic project at Fort Detrick, Md., and a 28 MW biomass plant at Fort Drum, N.Y.

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