The U.S. Army is surging forward in its push for green energy. Today (August 7) the Army held a media roundtable discussing its plans to issue request for proposals (RFP) for a multi-award task order contract (MATOC) for 1 gigawatt of renewable and alternative energy within the next 30 days. It plans to close the RFP roughly 30 days after that.
While all of the U.S.’s Air Force, Army and Navy have each announced that they plan install 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025, the Army is the first branch of the U.S.’s armed forces to move forward with such a request, according to Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy & environment. “This is the first MATOCH for renewable energy in the federal government,” she said. “So we are certainly breaking new ground here and developing a resource that is available to anyone in the federal government.”
The news followed an announcement that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior were partnering to encourage renewable energy development on or near military installations under their Renewable Energy Partnership Plan. “Just yesterday the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior jointly announced that 16 million acres of military lands will be open for renewable energy development which will strengthen national security and reduce energy costs for DOD installations,” said Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change Heather Zichal.
The RFP will allow the Army to create a pool of qualified installers and project developers that can respond to task orders for developing appropriate renewable energy projects on Army lands. Depending on where and what resource is available, such projects could include solar, wind, geothermal or biomass, Hammack said. Under the MATOC all projects will be owned and maintained by the project developer or financier and the electricity produced by the projects will be sold to the Army installation under a power-purchase agreement up to 30 years in duration.
The Army will move forward on the program swiftly, according to Hammack. “Currently the army projects that we will have anywhere from 100 to 300 megawatts of renewable energy issued in task orders each year,” she said. “We know that we are going to running on parallel paths and this is not the only contracting vehicle that we will be using. We are about to issue an RFP for about a 108 megawatts of renewable energy that will not be using this contract vehicle. But I would anticipate that at least 100 megawatts in RFPs or task orders would be issued each year.” Hammack anticipates that after the pool of contractors is determined, the Army could start issuing task orders within three to six months.