News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

California Geothermal Startup Wins Army Contract

Checking power equipment at Rammstein Army Base | Photo: Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr/Creative Commons License

A Burlingame-based startup is one of five companies awarded contracts with the U.S. Army to develop geothermal generating capacity to power military bases. The awards are the first in a series of contracts the Defense Department will issue to buy up to $7 billion worth of renewable energy.

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ECC Renewables, founded just last year, must now secure financing to build the generating capacity from which the Army will buy power.

The other companies awarded Power Purchase Agreement contracts under the Army's Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC) program are Constellation NewEnergy in Baltimore, Enel Green Power North America in Massachusetts, Michigan's LTC Federal, and Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., based in Arlington, Virginia.

The nation's military has been ordered by Congress to make sure it gets at least 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025. Additional rounds of MATOC contracts for solar, biomass and wind will be issued shortly, with a target of 3 gigawatts of renewables for the Defense Department as a whole, a third of which will be the Army's. All told, the contracts may pay the renewable energy developers as much as $7 billion.

The MATOC program is intended to allow companies to attract funding to develop new energy generation capacity; having an agreement to sell power to the U.S. Army is about as reliable an indication of credit worthiness as a company is likely to offer a lender.

ECC Renewables has a bit of a low profile online, and it's difficult to find out much about the company in a web search. A phone call to the company requesting more information wasn't returned by the time we went to press; if we find out more about the firm we'll post an update.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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The website for the company is at http://www.ecc.net/ but there's no mention of the contract for the army.