WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - ReEnergy will continue to provide all of Fort Drum’s electricity.
Defense Logistics Agency announced that it will no longer seek to renegotiate its contract with ReEnergy, which operates a 22-megawatt biomass plant on Fort Drum.
The facility generates 162,000 megawatt hours per year and provides the Army post with 100 percent energy independence.
DLA awarded a 20-year contract to Fort Drum in 2014 and the installation will continue to be a leader in alternative energy efficiency through the mid-2030s.
In a news release, north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said, “DOD’s use of alternative energy strengthens their ability to conduct combat operations, humanitarian response and protects our national security. Fort Drum not only plays a critical role in national defense with its rapid deployment capability, it also continues to be a leader in pursuing energy solutions that enhance national security, training capabilities and operational flexibility. I am proud to represent Fort Drum and I am pleased that Fort Drum will continue to be 100% energy independent and self-sustainable.”
In another news release, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said reports indicated that the Army had proposed ending or significantly amending the contract, despite ReEnergy meeting all performance requirements and investing $50 million into the facility.
Schumer said that such an action would not only have jeopardized hundreds of good-paying jobs, but it would have undermined Fort Drum’s energy resilience when facing potential threats to the energy grid. Schumer added that such an action would have a negative impact on all future agreements because bidders will price into contracts the risk that the Army may change its mind mid-contract.
In May of this year, Schumer met with the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, and the Chief of Staff of the Army, General James C. McConville, and urged both senior leaders to honor ReEnergy’s contract with Fort Drum.
“I’m so pleased to hear that the Army will be honoring its contract with ReEnergy, and that Fort Drum will maintain its status as the only 100% energy-independent, self-sustaining and off-the-grid military installation in the country. Not only does this contract support good-paying jobs in the North County, but it also ensures that in the event of an attack on our power grid, Fort Drum could continue to meet readiness requirements without disruptions. I thank the Army for heeding my numerous calls and helping to promote Fort Drum’s energy security and reliability,” said Senator Schumer in the news release.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also issued a statement:
“Ensuring the energy resilience of our military installations is critical for our national security, and I am pleased the Defense Department has reconsidered changing its commitment to Fort Drum and the North Country. New York’s largest military base can now rest assured that it will continue to be energy resilient and mission ready, bringing substantially increased security to Fort Drum. Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division are essential to the Army’s mission, to our national security, and to the North Country, and I was proud to fight on behalf of Fort Drum to ensure they remain an energy leader as well.”
Larry Richardson, Chief Executive Officer of ReEnergy Black River, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the Defense Logistics Agency has decided not to renegotiate the terms of ReEnergy’s agreement to supply secure, resilient renewable energy to Fort Drum. We are proud to provide secure and resilient electricity to the post and support the critically important mission of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. We deeply appreciate the support we have received over the years from Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Representative Elise Stefanik in our work with the Department of the Army and Fort Drum. The ReEnergy Black River biomass power facility supports more than 300 direct and indirect jobs and serves as an important market for regional forest and mill residue. We are gratified to play a supporting role in the regional forest products industry and we look forward to our continued partnership with Fort Drum and the Defense Logistics Agency.”
When the contract was awarded in 2014, 7 News reported it would help create more than 30 new jobs at the plant and more than 140 new jobs in ReEnergy’s biomass supply chain.
We reported at the time that it was the Army’s largest-ever renewable energy project.