Friday, September 28, 2012

Draining the Swamp: Down to the Wire on Army MATOC

With a week to go to submit responses to the Army MATOC, the latest amendment (#6, 24 Sep) to solicitation W912DY-11-R-0036 lays out additional details on the Task Order process.   Among the particulars is information on what happens if a small business is acquired, the type of contract envisioned for the TOs and the basis of awards. 

If you haven’t read the 70 pages of Q&A regarding the solicitation, get cracking.  Within the questions is the definitive answer on the value of storage solutions:
"There will be no direct government compensation to energy storage facilities; however, offerors may propose storage facilities as part of their technical solutions to task order requests for proposal. In such circumstances, energy storage providers would be compensated by the selected task order awardee who would consider the energy storage costs in creating its price proposal. Section H(3) of the Request for Proposals discusses typical evaluation criteria for task order awards. Energy Security will be considered in task order competitions in accordance with the policy expressed in Sec. 2822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (Pub. Law 112-81, Dec. 31, 2011), and Consideration of energy security could lead to favorable consideration of energy storage capabilities. The value attached to energy security may vary from task order to task order."
It would seem that energy security considerations included in a proposal might make the selection committee smile with benevolence on such proposals, but not materially improve the proposal’s likelihood of selection.  What will really drive the selections will be the firm, fixed price for a kilowatt-hour.  The solicitation has the typical language about “best value”, but, time and again, that has meant cheapest.  Additionally, just because you have won a place on the MATOC, does not guarantee you a shot at every TO. 

The Government “reserves the right to use initial screening criteria or other means to limit the competitive range to the greatest number of proposals that will permit efficient competition among the most highly rated proposals”.  Even if you are on the MATOC, you will undergo a subsequent screening for bondability, insurability, financial stability, and a price proposal within a designated percentage of current market prices.  If you are not within 10% of the Independent Government Estimate, you will likely be cut from consideration.  

This MATOC will help all the Services (not just the Army) reach their one gigawatt renewable energy production goal.  It is not intended nor designed to improve energy security.  If projects have a positive impact on energy security it will be a bonus effect. 

Every now and then, even when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is important to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.  The concern about energy security at installations came from reports by the Defense Science Board in 2001 and 2008.  That concern is still valid, but this MATOC and all the money spent to stand up and operate the contractor heavy,  Army Energy Initiatives Task Force will do nothing to improve the security situation.  It will allow the Services to check certain legislative mandate  blocks, but that is all.  If these energy initiatives are not able to provide continuity of operations to installations in the absence of the commercial grid, they will reduce the carbon footprint, meet legislative directives, but have no impact on energy security.  The swamp is not draining.  Dan Nolan  


sbowen said...

just guessing here, but I bet the IPPs who win task orders would prefer if their plants could operate in parallel with the grid in the absence of prime power (ie, increase security). I mean, who wouldn't prefer to sell regardless of what an outside utility is/isn't doing?

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