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Public-Private Collaboration Necessary to Ease Procurement Challenges

Last week in Washington D.C., I participated in a panel discussion at the Climate Leadership Conference sponsored by The Climate Registry, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Association of Climate Change Officers, which convened industry leaders from business, government and academia committed to addressing global climate change through policy, innovation and business solutions.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to join representatives from the Coca-Cola Company and Optony for a discussion moderated by Blaine Collision, who leads the Green Power Partnership Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The panel focused on approaches to increasing renewable energy through power purchase agreements and on-site energy generation.

As the government works to meet the energy performance goals set by President Obama in his Executive Order 13514, there are challenges for both the government and its private sector partners as they work to determine which energy solutions to pursue, and how best to procure these solutions.

The limited flexibility of contract vehicles to procure energy solutions is a major challenge for the government and often inhibits the agencies from looking at their energy needs holistically. Currently, separate procurements are usually issued for each energy need, even though a single procurement for multiple needs may be much more efficient.

We believe the government is on the right track in considering the need to integrate all the available contract vehicles (Energy Savings Performance Contracts, Enhanced Use Lease Contracts, Power Purchasing Agreements, etc.) and implement energy solutions that have consideration for the overall ecosystem. We also see a need to take advantage of opportunities within existing vehicles to integrate load response, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and greenhouse gas reductions all under one contract.

When looking at generation and energy reduction, we often think these efforts should be separate contracts. However, to maximize effectiveness, we believe they should be developed in concert. For example, when considering increasing renewable energy and on-site generation, consideration should be given to considering how to incorporate a load response strategy and implement gas or power purchasing in order to maximize savings to help the government achieve its mission.

During the discussion, I spoke about the need to look at energy as an asset to the government’s mission and budget and not as a liability. There is an ability and opportunity within existing contract vehicles that could help the government raise the bar from net zero to net zero plus revenue generation.

Constellation, the company that currently services 4,000 government customers nationally, has been providing assistance to the government as it begins to move towards unification of these contract vehicles. It is important to continue the discourse between the private sector and the government on how to best integrate these vehicles.

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