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Army's largest renewable energy project part of $61 million energy contracts

January 25, 2012

By ASA (IE&E) and IMCOM Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (Jan. 25, 2012) -- The Army has awarded three Energy Savings Performance Contracts with a total value of $61 million, including one that will result in the largest renewable energy project executed to date by the Army.

These three projects will save the Army 267 billion British thermal units, or BTUs, annually and will provide the Army with 8.2-megawatts of renewable power capacity.

The White Sands Missile Range project, awarded last December, will provide the Army with 4.44-megawatts of installed photovoltaic capacity. The $16.8 million contract with Siemens Government Technologies will generate more than 10 percent of the installation's electrical energy consumption via solar renewable energy by the end of 2012, saving 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity and $930,000 annually.

When finished, this will be the largest renewable energy project in the Army, more than double the size of the current largest 2-megawatt array at Fort Carson, Colo.

At Fort Bliss, Texas, Johnson Controls Inc. was awarded a $16 million project that guarantees to save $42 million in energy costs over 25 years, while annually generating about 2.2 million kilowatt hours of energy from a renewable source. Under the contract, the installation will purchase energy produced by 5,500 solar panels, without owning or maintaining the equipment.

The project was specifically designed to offset peak afternoon energy demands when utility rates are highest and potential brown-outs are prone to occur. In addition to the solar panels, the agreement includes a variety of energy savings measures including utility monitoring and control systems to manage energy consumption of 120 buildings.

Johnson Controls was awarded a $34 million contract to install wind and solar photovoltaic systems, light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting, energy management control systems, and other energy conservation equipment and processes in Puerto Rico. This contract will benefit Fort Buchanan and 11 Army Reserve Centers on the island. This 16-year contract is projected to save the Army more than $65 million over the contract life.

These projects, awarded through the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Ala., support the Army's goal of producing 25 percent of its utility energy requirement from renewable energy sources by 2025.

These latest contracts are part of a considerable Army effort to expand its use of ESPCs and a similar shared savings contract known as a Utility Energy Savings Contract, or UESC, to leverage private investment capital to help enable the Army to attain its energy goals.

In fiscal year 2009, the Army executed $115 million in shared savings contracts; in fiscal year 2010, this figure increased to $139 million; and in fiscal year 2011, it increased again to $144 million. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, the Army awarded $93 million worth of projects, including $61 million in December alone.

Under an Energy Savings Performance Contract, or ESPC, an energy service company provides equipment, capital and expertise to attain a specified level of energy savings over an extended period of time, up to 25 years. The contractor recoups their investment through an agreed-upon percentage of guaranteed cost savings.

The Army actively seeks and supports industry collaborations as a means of becoming less dependent on expensive and unstable energy sources and increasing compatible renewable energy development. The Army recognizes energy as a force multiplier and vulnerability. Without energy, the Army stands still and silent.

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