A group of companies, including a unit of Virginia-based Dominion Resources Inc., won the U.S. Defense Department’s biggest contract last month, a solar energy deal under a $7 billion alternative-energy program.
The Aug. 27 award from the Army was the second of its kind, following a similar agreement for geothermal power in May. (The service this week announced a third such deal for solar power and a fourth for biomass is expected by the end of the year.) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntsville, Ala., is overseeing the work.
The program represents "a major step forward in the procurement of renewable energy for the Army and the other services," John Lushetsky, executive director of the Energy Initiatives Task Force, said in a statement.
The award topped a list of almost 330 contracts with a combined value of slightly less than $32 billion in August, according to a Military.com analysis of the Pentagon’s daily contract announcements. That figure is 1 percent higher than the average value for the past three months and doesn’t reflect what is actually spent, or obligated, because many deals are only partially funded at first.
The Army selected 22 companies from a total of 114 bids as part of a contract to buy electricity generated from solar power.
The firms included several from the greater Washington, D.C., region, including Apex Wind Energy Holdings LLC of Charlottesville, Va.; Dominion Energy Inc. part of Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources Inc; Energy Matters LLC of Arlington, Va.; Solar Power Ventures, also of Arlington, Va.; Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md.; and Washington Gas Energy Systems Inc., part of Washington, D.C.-based WGL Holdings Inc.
The Army plans to buy the renewable energy from privately developed power plants, according to the Aug. 27 announcement. The facilities are to be built, operated and maintained by the companies.
The existing umbrella contract includes a three-year base period and seven one-year options, the Army has said. The funding can be spent over an even longer period -- as many as 30 years, it said.
The Pentagon's top three contracts in August were so-called multiple-award contracts. Under these kinds of arrangements, companies win seats on the contract, then compete against each other for individual orders.
Eight companies shared the second-largest contract, an Air Force agreement worth as much as $6.9 billion over six years for information-technology equipment such as computers, networking gear and biometric hardware as part of the Network Centric Solutions-2, or Netcents-2, program, according to the Aug. 26 announcement.
Another group of eight companies, including units of defense giants such as London-based BAE Systems Plc and Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., won the third-largest contract, an agreement with the Defense Microelecetronics Activity potentially valued at $1.34 billion over three years to provide computer-engineering services as part of the Advanced Technology Support Program III, or ATSP-3, program, according to the Aug. 26 announcement.