U.S. Army Issues RFP to Purchase $7 Billion of Renewable Energy from New Projects on U.S. Military Installations

by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

On August 8, 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through its Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, issued a Multiple-Award Task Order Request for Proposal (RFP) for $7 billion in total contract capacity to procure renewable energy through power purchase agreements and similar contractual arrangements. Renewable energy purchases will be made over a period of up to 30 years from new projects to be constructed and operated on or near U.S. military bases by contractors using private-sector financing. The Army's stated goal is to facilitate the development of one gigawatt of renewable energy projects on its bases by 2025.

The RFP follows the Army's February 24, 2012, draft RFP, to which it received more than 900 comments from approximately 130 companies. In addition to making revisions to the draft RFP as a result of those comments, the Army released a "Frequently Asked Questions" document with the final RFP.

The Army will host a pre-proposal conference in late August, likely in Chicago, although the date and details of the event have not yet been finalized.

"Renewable energy" is defined broadly for the purposes of the RFP, including not only power but also fuel oil replacement, thermal generation, hot water generation, and other sources of energy.

Eligible technologies are solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and "alternative technologies," all also broadly defined. "Solar" includes both PV and solar thermal, "wind" includes horizontal- and vertical-axis turbines, "geothermal" includes ground-source heat pumps and deep-well geothermal systems, "biomass" means all technologies that utilize organic material to generate fuel or energy, and "alternative technologies" includes fuel cells, ocean power, energy storage, micro-grids, and hydroelectric technologies that do not require construction of a dam. Hybrid projects that include multiple technologies also may be sourced.

Some projects (12 MW or less) will be set aside for small businesses (defined as entities that, with their affiliates, are engaged primarily in the generation, transmission, and/or distribution of electric energy for sale and with total electric output for the preceding year not exceeding four million megawatt hours). The participation of small businesses as sub-contractors on larger projects also is encouraged.

It is important to keep in mind that the Army intends only to purchase energy under the RFP. It will not acquire or otherwise invest in generation assets. Private contractors will finance, design, build, operate, own, and maintain the energy plants.

The RFP is not an opportunity to bid on specific projects, only to be included in a large pool of pre-qualified companies that subsequently will be given the opportunity to bid on specific projects. Each project will be the subject of its own task order, which will specify the applicable generation technology and other project-specific terms and conditions. The Army expects to notify successful applicants of their inclusion in the pool by the end of 2012 and to start approving individual projects in 2013.

The RFP, a minor amendment, and the FAQ document can be found here.

Proposals are due no later than 2:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, October 5, 2012. As a reminder, companies must respond to the RFP and be selected for inclusion in the pool on a technology-specific basis in order to bid on the Army's future project development opportunities.

For more information or assistance in pursuing this opportunity, please contact Taite McDonald (tmcdonald@wsgr.com), Chris Groobey (cgroobey@wsgr.com), Todd Glass (tglass@wsgr.com), or Peter Mostow (pmostow@wsgr.com).


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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