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Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 6/20/2013 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

As if there weren't enough acronyms in Fed IT - here's a new one for you, ESPCs - or Energy Savings Performance Contracts. So, what is an ESPC and what does it have to do with the stalled FDCCI initiative? Well, let's start with FDCCI. It's a chicken-or-egg conundrum. We need to invest in order to realize savings. However, there's no money to invest, so there are no savings. Capiche?
Incidentally, Uptime Institute estimates that energy bills constitute 12 percent of data center operating costs. That's a lot of hamburgers.
Hang on to your hat - more acronyms. ESPCs are contract vehicles that finance energy savings projects without upfront capital investments and without Congressional appropriations. Energy Service Companies - ESCOs - conduct energy audits, identify improvements, and design energy savings projects. ESCOs also arrange financing and guarantee that cost savings will be sufficient to pay for the project. The ESCOs get paid out of the savings. Cost savings accrue to the agency after the contract expires. Sounds like free money for a Federal government that's cash strapped - and hell bent on delivering tangible savings. What's not to like?  
Cyber Security Brainstorm
DoE's Federal Energy Management Program has 16 ESCOs under an IDIQ contract. These contracts have traditionally been used to finance lighting and air conditioning modernization. Now Feds are interested in using them to break the impasse on OMB's FDCCI mandate...
Here's the irony.  It seems that OMB is holding up the ESPC award for the first-ever data center consolidation project - to be clear, understand this is the B side not the M side - Steven VanRoekel has publicly expressed support for ESPCs. See this letter from Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Cyber Security Brainstorm
Fixing the Roof in FDCCI?
ESPCs are not new, they're just new to IT. Here's how it works. Schneider Electric, one of those 16 ESCOs, is modernizing the U.S. Coast Guard facilities in Puerto Rico. It's fixing leaking roofs - and at the same time installing solar panels - at no cost to the government. The Coast Guard gets out of the rain and access to cheaper power generated by the solar panels and pays for the improvements with the savings they generate.
Considering FDCCI progress to date - as highlighted in recent House and Senate hearings - seems we could all use a little relief from the rain. Sunshine and cheaper power seem like powerful medicine for Uncle Sam. Now apply that ESPC difference in IT - and everybody goes home a winner. What say you, OMB?

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