The Army has signed a nearly $500 million agreement with a Virginia-based company to bring more solar and wind energy to Fort Hood, officials announced Wednesday.
The 28-year agreement with Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Va., will save the Army $168 million in electricity costs over the course of the nearly three-decade agreement, Apex said in a news release.
Apex’s hybrid project will feature 50.4 megawatts of wind energy from the Cotton Plains Wind energy facility in Floyd County, near Lubbock, and 15.4 megawatts of energy from solar panels on-site at Fort Hood, according to the news release. The project will begin providing energy to Fort Hood in 2017. The field of solar panels will be installed at West Fort Hood near the Clarke Road Gate not far from Copperas Cove.
“Apex’s groundbreaking hybrid energy project — the Army’s largest single renewable energy project to date — is sized to optimize the solar energy produced by the Phantom Solar facility on-site at Fort Hood and the wind energy produced at the Cotton Plains Wind energy facility in Floyd County, Texas,” according to the news release. “Apex is collaborating with two service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses in the development and construction of the project, Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group (TVIG) and American Helios. TVIG will serve as the Balance of Plant contractor on the wind energy component project, and American Helios constructors will support construction of the solar component of the project.”
The agreement was signed by the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, in coordination with the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives and Fort Hood, with Apex Clean Energy Holdings LLC.
Fort Hood, which already has solar panels on many of its newer buildings, applauded the agreement.
“We are very pleased with the recent award of a large scale renewable energy contract as it will allow Fort Hood to utilize sun and wind resources to generate nearly half of our electricity needs over the course of a year, at a cost lower than we are paying now,” said Col. Todd Fox, Fort Hood’s garrison commander.
He said the three-decade agreement will lock in the low rates for energy generated from the on-post solar field and wind turbines in northwest Texas.
Army officials also said the project adds to Fort Hood’s security by providing an on-post power-generating facility.
“This project demonstrates that renewable energy can both decrease costs and increase the security and resiliency of our installations,” said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability.
The project brings the Army closer to President Barack Obama’s announcement of the Defense Department’s commitment to clean energy with the promise to deploy three gigawatts of renewable energy — including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal — on Army, Navy and Air Force installations by 2025, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.
A groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Hood for the solar field is scheduled for Jan. 28.