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Army Awards Biomass Contracts Under $7 Billion Green Energy Push

Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.,  and Col. Howard Belote tour solar power panels at Nellis Air Force Base in 2009.

Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Col. Howard Belote tour solar power panels at Nellis Air Force Base in 2009. // Charles Dharapak/AP file photo

The Army has awarded 13 companies contracts to build biomass power plants to serve its bases, the fourth and last in a $7 billion series of green energy procurements since May.

The companies join others that have won 30-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity awards, for the right to compete for future contracts as part of a servicewide green energy project kicked off in August 2011. The IDIQ contracts cover biomass, geothermal, solar and wind power plants.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act requires federal agencies to purchase 7.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2013, while the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act requires that 25 percent of the Defense Department's total electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

The companies that won the new biomass contracts will be eligible to bid on future renewable energy task orders, which include municipal solid waste and waste-to-energy projects, the Army said.

The Army awarded five companies IDIQ contracts for geothermal power on May 3, and additional contracts for solar power on Aug. 27. On Sept. 9, the Army tapped 17 companies to provide it with wind power.

All the green energy power plants will be designed, financed, constructed, operated and maintained by contractors using private-sector financing, with some of the plants located on Army bases. The third-party financed renewable energy acquisitions involve no Army or Defense capital or military construction appropriations, the Army said.

Lt. Gen. Lieutenant Thomas Bostick, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, described the arrangement as a win for all involved. “Working with private industry on renewable energy projects using third-party financing maximizes return on investment for both the Army and industry."

This story has been updated throughout with details and context. Clarification: The biomass contracts fall under a $7 billion green energy push.

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