In October of 2014, a Request for Proposal (RFI) was issued by the Defense Logistic Agency alongside Fort Hood and the Office of Energy Initiatives. The RFI indicated a Notice of Intent to Award the winning proposal to a company that provided the best low cost, energy efficient solution. In January 2016, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy signed a Renewable Energy Supply Agreement with Apex Clean Energy.
On July 19th, Apex Clean Energy announced it had entered a partnership with retail electricity provider MP2 Energy to supply traditional and renewable energy to Fort Hood, Texas. Together, the two companies will support 100% of the electricity using both renewable energy in the form of solar and wind, and grid power from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
The agreement between the Apex Clean Energy and the United States Army marks the single largest renewable energy project in the history of the military. As the biggest energy consumer in the nation is the federal government, this agreement will also save the United States Army and the Department of Defense a significant portion of their annual budget.
Apex Clean Energy
Based out of Charlottesville Virginia, Apex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company that owns, builds and operates utility-scale solar and wind power facilities. They have the biggest wind energy project pipeline in the United States, and have so far generated enough wind capacity to power over 500,000 homes.
The agreement between Apex Clean Energy and the United States Army indicates that Apex Clean Energy is responsible for supplying Fort Hood with 65.8 megawatts of electricity. The electricity will include a supply of their wind and solar supply, generated from Apex Clean Energy’s solar and wind facilities over 28 years.
Fort Hood is a military base located near Killeen Texas. It currently supports around 218,000 military personnel and their families. Named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, the base claims the title of the most populated American military area in the world. It supports many units including,
- III Corps
- 1st Calvary Division
- 13th Sustainment Command
- First Army Division West
- 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
- 41st Fires Brigade
The base itself consists of three areas or sections. These sections are known as, North Fort Hood, West Fort Hood and the main cantonment (Main Post).
For some more quick facts on Fort Hood, check out these stats from 2009:
- Active Duty Officers: 4,929
- Active Duty Enlisted: 45,414
- Family Members – On Post: 17,954
- Family Members – Off Post: 89,933
- Civilian/NAF/Other Employees: 8,909
- Retirees, Survivors & Family Members: 246,718
- Major Command: III Corps
In 2015, the United States Army spent $1.3 billion on energy, which makes up approximately 35% of the Department of Defense’s power budget. The agreement with Apex Clean Energy means that the military will pay approximately $168 million less than if they had signed with an alternate power source like, the electricity grid.
MP2 Energy defines themselves as a full service power company. This means that the company understands the inner workings of the power markets like, solar installation and off take, wind and distributed generation, solar retail products, asset management, and commodity hedging. They also have the knowledge and ability to integrate different capabilities including, demand response, plant management, plant development and retail electric supply to consumers. Currently they serve about 1,400 megawatts within Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas to residential, commercial and industrial customers.
Apex Clean Energy has partnered with MP2 Energy in order to provide the appropriate retail services required by Fort Hood to ensure the success of the project. MP2 Energy is set to become the Quality Scheduling Entity, which means they are responsible for deliver of the 65.8 megawatts of wind and solar power.
Project Scope: Electricity in Fort Hood
The agreement between Apex Clean Energy and the United States Army is defined as a hybrid energy project. The reason for this is because both traditional grid and wind and solar electricity will supply power to Fort Hood. Apex Energy plans to utilize the energy produced at Fort Hood itself via the newly constructed Phantom Solar facility, which has 63,000 panels over 132 acres. This is approximately the size of 10 football fields! In addition, the project will also utilize a wind energy facility located in Floyd County, Texas known as, Cotton Plains Wind. The farm’s turbines will connect to an interconnection substation, and that substation will then connect to the grid. These renewable sources of energy will provide 40% of the electricity Fort Hood requires.
Apex Clean Energy is partnering with MP2 Energy so that MP2 Energy can supply the remaining 60% of the electricity required though ERCOT. In addition, the wind and solar energy that is connected to the grid will be managed and delivered to Fort Hood by MP2.
There are two other companies involved in the project (in addition to MP2 Energy) that are involved in areas of construction and development. These companies are Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and include,
- Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group – This business will act as the Balance of Plant contractor for the wind energy component of the project
- American Helios – This company will provide support towards the construction of the solar aspects or component of the project.
As mentioned above, Fort Hood itself is responsible for generating 15.4 MWac of solar power from its Phantom Solar facility, while the 50.4 megawatts of wind energy will be produced offsite.
Fort Wood is expected to receive and consume energy from this project starting in 2017.