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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Don't miss the growing energy opportunity

The Defense Department has awarded its fourth environmental security contract, a $2.5 million deal with Belkin International.

Belkin will be working on a demonstration project to collect real-time electrical consumption data at a DOD facility.

Another contract went to Siemens for energy management and control. It was awarded in April and is worth $780,000.

Power Analytics Corp. won a $3.5 million demonstration contract in July for a secure microgrid energy system.

Honeywell won a $1.8 million contract on Sept. 10 for plant optimization for waste energy reduction.

All four contracts were awarded under the umbrella of a pair of Defense Department research programs – the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.

All the contracts are for demonstrations to develop better technologies and systems to improve energy management at Defense Department facilities. Some areas of interest include ways to visualize and optimize energy flow, protection of energy related industry control systems, and being able to safely use grid-tied photovoltaic arrays off-grid and at a scale that useful to DOD.

The Defense Department also wants to reduce energy use, improve efficiency and retrofit existing systems with sensors and new switches as a way to reduce costs.

Reducing costs and improving performance are the main benefits that DOD is after.

A couple things caught my attention when I saw the notice that Belkin had won this contract.

It’s an interesting mix: Two – Honeywell and Siemens -- are well known players in the federal market. Two – Belkin and Power Analytics – are not.

Belkin is a well-known consumer tech company, though according to its website, it has a variety of cyber and mobility solutions geared toward government users. Power Analytics is squarely in the commercial power management space, but not much in the government part of the energy market yet.

One of the things I find fascinating about the emerging energy management market is that it pulls in new players.

It’s an opportunity and a challenge for established government contractors. First, you might face new competitors, but there also is the chance to find some new and innovative partners.

The government has a long history of establishing contracts for HVAC systems, and the like, where the contractor foots the bill for installation of equipment and then is paid via the savings.

As the government looks at their facilities more holistically, the idea of energy management will spread from heaters, air conditioners and lights to PCs and servers.

And don’t let the relatively small size of these four demonstration contracts fool you; the opportunity is huge.

The Defense Department has identified 539,000 facilities and 2.2 billion square feet of space that use $4.1 billion in annual energy costs.

And this isn’t just about saving money; DOD sees its reliance on what it calls a “fragile commercial electricity grid” as putting critical missions at risk.

As you look for new opportunities, energy management should be on your watch list if it isn’t already.

Here is a link with more information.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 16, 2013 at 9:51 AM

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