Defense Logistics Agency to honor contract with ReEnergy

By Erin Voegele | November 26, 2019

Government officials announced on Nov. 26 that the Defense Logistics Agency will no longer seek to renegotiate its contract with ReEnergy to provide biomass power to Fort Drum, a military installation in New York.

The Defense Logistics Agency in 2014 awarded a 20-year contract to ReEnergy Black River, a 22 megawatt (MW) facility located at Fort Drum that was converted from coal to biomass. The facility supplies secure, renewable electricity to Fort Drum. In May 2019, the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released a statement noting reports had indicated the Army was proposing to end or significantly amend its contract with ReEnergy despite ReEnergy meeting all performance requirements and investing $50 million into the facility.  In response, Schumer urged top military brass to fully honor its contract with ReEnergy, noting the agreement makes Fort Drum the nation’s only military installation that is 100 percent energy independent, self-sustaining and off-the-grid.

ReEnergy issued a statement on Nov. 26 saying it is pleased with the Defense Logistics Agency’s decision. “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,” said Larry D. Richardson, CEO of ReEnergy Black River. “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,” Richardson continued.  “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.”

Schumer applauded the Army’s decision to cancel its request to alter its contract with ReEnergy. “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 percent energy-independent, self-sustaining and off-the-grid military installation in the country,” he said. “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.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., also released a statement in support of the Army’s decision. “DOD’s use of alternative energy strengthens their ability to conduct combat operations, humanitarian response and protects our national security,” Stefanik said. “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 percent energy independent and self-sustainable.”