The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering and Support Center issued a $7 billion, multiple-award request for proposal (RFP) to procure solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy through power purchase agreements with both large and small businesses. The $7 billion total contract capacity will be expended for the purchase of energy during a period of 30 years or less from renewable energy plants that are constructed and operated by contractors using private sector financing. The contractors will finance, design, build, operate, own and maintain the energy plants. Projects may be located on any federal property within or under control of the United States. Awarding these contracts will result in a streamlined process to develop large-scale renewable energy projects that use private sector financing, the Army said. The solicitation for Renewable and Alternative Energy Power Production for Department of Defense Installations is posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov. Responses must be submitted by Oct. 5.
Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced legislation to streamline permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands. H.R. 6154, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, treats renewable energy similar to traditional sources of energy development like oil and gas. Additionally, the bill establishes royalty rates that are designed to encourage production, ensure a taxpayer return and maximize energy generation. The bill’s sponsors say these dollars will help local governments, which cannot collect taxes on public lands, deliver critical services and infrastructure. Read the text of H.R. 6154 at www.energytaxcredits.com.
Governors from the New England states resolved to release a six-state request for proposal in 2013 for a significant amount of renewable energy. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick proposed the resolution at the New England Governor’s Conference in Vermont, where it passed unanimously. This initiative to coordinate the region’s procurement of renewable energy is designed to allow New England to take advantage of economies of scale and market power. Under the resolution, the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) will convene a team of energy officials and other representatives from each state. During the next year, the team will finalize the details of the regional procurement and NESCOE will develop a work plan that will result in the release of an RFP for renewable energy.
Clean Energy Group (CEG) and the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) created an initiative to advance clean energy through bond financing institutions. The partnership, called the Clean Energy + Bond Finance Initiative (CE+BFI), will work with institutional investors, public finance agencies and public clean energy fund managers to find ways to increase clean energy investment by at least an additional $5 billion in the next five years. To support the initiative, CDFA and CEG have also launched the national Task Force on Clean Energy Bond Finance, which includes representatives from top public and private clean energy and development finance organizations. The initiative plans to launch pilot partnerships to finance projects in six to eight areas. More information about CE+BFI is available at www.cdfa.net.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that supporters say will strengthen the state’s solar energy market. The bill, S. 1925, accelerates the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for solar energy and lowers the price ceiling on solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). Under the bill, the 15-year RPS schedule is changed from a fixed megawatt requirement each year to a percentage of overall energy usage in New Jersey, ensuring that the level of solar obligation rises and falls with energy demand. The new law is projected to save ratepayers more than $1 billion during the next 15 years.