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GovEnergy 2007 Conference

August 8, 2007 - 3:16pm


Prepared Remarks for Secretary Bodman

Thanks very much, Andy, and thank you all.  I want to congratulate you --- both the organizers and the participants of GovEnergy 2007.  In no small feat, we have drawn a record crowd of over 1,800 to this 10th GovEnergy conference.  I am proud to be a part of this remarkable event.

This year, GovEnergy is cosponsored by five federal agencies in addition to the Department of Energy --- the General Services Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your leadership, support and collaboration.

Despite the setbacks that this city has endured, I am pleased to see that New Orleans is moving forward as a community.  It is tackling challenges head on, including the need to provide efficient, reliable, clean and affordable energy to its citizens.  Our tasks - yours and mine - as public servants, is to help in this effort, with the government leading by example wherever possible.

The challenge of ensuring reliable, affordable energy to the public is not unique to New Orleans.  In fact, it is a national challenge that President Bush recognized early in his tenure.

In order to increase America's energy security, the President has put forth a comprehensive slate of policies that support basic scientific research through the American Competitiveness Initiative, the development and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies through the Advanced Energy Initiative, and a 20% reduction in projected gasoline consumption through the Twenty in Ten Initiative.

I want to be perfectly clear: energy efficiency is part and parcel of these Presidential initiatives, and ladies and gentlemen, it must be our priority.

As most of you know, the largest source of immediately available cost-effective "new" energy is the energy we waste every day.  Indeed, it is the cheapest, most abundant, cleanest, most readily available source of energy we can access.  It is our duty to maximize this resource for the federal government and for the nation.

Through a comprehensive energy efficiency effort that is focused both on the public and private sectors, as well as the industry and consumers, the Department of Energy is doing just that.  I recently announced that DOE and Disney are cooperating in a first-time nationwide campaign to promote energy efficiency through a TV spot based on the new Disney Pixar film "Ratatouille."

Similarly, at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners meeting last month, I encouraged state utility regulators to find ways to incentivize utilities to promote the efficient use of energy by consumers.

The President highlighted his particular commitment to promoting energy efficiency through Executive Order 13423 - Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management - in January of this year.  In so doing, he made it very clear that the federal government must lead by example in pursuing unprecedented gains in energy efficient programs and sustainable energy policies.

As you know, this Executive Order challenges each agency to reduce greenhouse gases; substantially increase the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; adopt sustainable "green building" design practices for construction and retrofits; and significantly reduce the use of petroleum in vehicle fleets.  The Order requires us to achieve these gains in a relatively short timeframe, utilizing private financing to accomplish more than ever before.

It goes almost without saying that the Department of Energy has an important and unique leadership role to play in this undertaking.  And so, today I am announcing what we at the Department call the Transformational Energy Action Management or TEAM initiative for short.  This puts DOE on a path to meet or exceed the President's goals --- over and above his Executive Order and those mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The TEAM Initiative will allow the Department of Energy to be an example among the federal agencies, to serve as an energy efficiency leader for the entire federal government.

This new initiative represents a fundamental and radical shift in the way we --- the federal government --- develop policy and operate our facilities.  As part of this effort, DOE will implement a streamlined, prioritized, comprehensive approach to meeting our energy and environmental challenges.  We will do so with a sense of urgency that reflects the importance of this endeavor.

I am proud to tell you that the Department of Energy is currently drawing upon its wealth of expertise and breadth of experience in achieving this end.  This has required sustained cooperation and broad-based commitment from all of our most senior managers, facility managers and lab directors, working together to improve the efficiency and energy use of our vast array of facilities.

Building upon the already ambitious goals laid out in the President's Executive Order, my specific requirements for the TEAM Initiative are as follows:

  • Achieve no less than 30% energy intensity reduction across the agency. The path to achieving this goal will be outlined in a binding plan to be put in place for all DOE sites by 2008;
  • Maximize installation of secure, on-site renewable energy projects at all DOE sites;
  • Require that DOE's entire fleet operate their Alternative Fuel Vehicles exclusively on alternative fuels;
  • Baseline, implement and monitor a Department-wide plan by FY 2008 to reduce water consumption at least 16%;
  • Strive to achieve a LEED Gold standard for all new construction, and major renovations; and
  • Ensure the implementation of an enhanced and widely applied Environmental Management System to manage the environmental energy and transportation components of all our activities.

The requirements I have outlined are no doubt ambitious.  But through this program, I hope to make the Department of Energy a leader and example for all other parts of the federal government, as well as for the private sector.  I also hope to leave our successors with a leaner, greener and more efficient federal government.

Today, I challenge each of you - and your Departments and Agencies - to consider adopting similar implementation plans.  And, as you consider the goals for your individual agencies and a path to get there, I would encourage you to develop strategic partnerships with the Energy Service Companies and Utilities - ESCOs and UESCs.  Because I believe these mandates set forth in the Executive Order, EPAct, and within this TEAM Initiative are not possible to meet if we depend solely on public appropriations.

Just prior to joining you all here today, I met with the senior managers of some of the ESCOS that are contractually qualified to do work at Department of Energy facilities and made very clear to them what I expect to achieve through the implementation of the TEAM Initiative's expedited business model.  They have in turn expressed to me a unanimous sentiment, I believe shared by all of us here today, that they are eager to commit the resources, expertise and sense of urgency needed to achieve these goals.

We are confident that the business of profiting from the creation of efficiency gains and the utilization of environmentally sound technologies will rapidly proliferate, making both the sector and the economy more competitive and prosperous.  Through our recurring competitions, broader access and more effective policy, we hope to continuously encourage and support this trend, challenging private industry to engage in substantially larger and more aggressive private financing proposals that go far beyond incremental efficiency gains.

We have made it clear within the Department of Energy, consistent with guidance provided last week by the White House to all agencies, that whenever cost-effective lifecycle energy savings and capital improvements can be achieved through the application of private sector financing, such opportunities must be pursued.

This will ensure that America's energy aspirations are exemplified by its federal government without further, unnecessary burden on the American taxpayer.  Public appropriations can then more appropriately focus on and be applied to the core mission of each agency.

Last year, upon returning from GovEnergy, Assistant Secretary Karsner provided me great detail about who you are and about the work you do.  Although I am the first Secretary of Energy to address this gathering, I am confident I will not be the last.  It is my great honor to be with the people who are responsible for the transformation of the Federal government-the world's largest energy user.

The work you pursue now has not only direct and beneficial effects for the buildings, fleets, and facilities you manage, it also has the residual effect of inspiring America's pursuit of a cleaner environment and a more secure energy future.

Thank you for who you are and what you do.  I look forward to supporting your efforts and learning about your achievements and successes as you lead the nation by your example.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Media contact(s): Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940