GSA's utility contract facilitates DoD's charge towards sustainability at Ft. Huachuca
By Scott Nielsen
Part of the solar array at Ft. Huachuca, the DOD's largest solar installation.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) joined the U.S. Army and Army Garrison Fort Huachuca at a ribbon cutting ceremony on February 11 to celebrate the completion of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) largest renewable energy solar installation.
The 68-acre project is expected to supply more than 18-megawatts of clean power and will provide 25 percent of the military base’s power. In December 2014, the project became operational with more than 57,000 solar panels supplying Fort Huachuca and the Southern Arizona grid with renewable energy.
“Southwestern Arizona is an ideal region for solar panel projects thanks to brilliant sunshine, the availability of land, and a state mandate to increase renewable energy production,” said Chip Morris, GSA Pacific Rim Regional Administrator. “So, it’s only fitting that Fort Huachuca was chosen as the location for GSA's first solar panel project with the Department of Defense.”
The project was a collaboration between GSA, the Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Fort Huachuca, Tucson Electric Power and its developer E.ON Climate & Renewables.
“This initiative serves as a model for innovative partnering between the government and private industry while also easing our impact on the environment,” said Morris. “These kinds of projects are vital to building a sustainable infrastructure for our nation,” he said.
The Army made a commitment to President Obama, stating that it would deploy one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025, which is enough energy to power 750,000 homes.
"We feel it is our responsibility as the DOD to be examples to other communities. It’s also our responsibility to national security. The Fort Huachuca renewable energy project is unique because it is the first large scale project in the Army and it's the result of very innovative partnering between the Army and Tucson Electric Power and the General Services Administration," said Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
The project utilizes the existing GSA Area-wide Public Utility contract and is a great example of how GSA provides value and supports its customers in achieving their sustainability goals. GSA negotiated a public utility contract for a 10-year term. This contract allows TEP to provide all utility services including renewable and renewable power generation.
“We’re very proud to provide Fort Huachuca with a cost-effective solar power resource that will contribute to the base’s long-term energy security,” said David Hutchens, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tucson Electric Power (TEP). “This new, productive partnership will benefit our customers while helping both the base and TEP make significant progress toward our respective renewable energy goals,” he said.
GSA plays a pivotal role in the implementation of the President’s environmental and energy policies and uses our purchasing power to promote sustainable procurements as one way of making government greener. Solar projects, like this one, are part of building a sustainable energy infrastructure for our nation.