In the latest step under his Climate Action Plan, President Obama today signed a Memorandum directing the Federal Government to consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 – more than double the current level. Meeting this renewable energy goal will reduce pollution in our communities, promote American energy independence, and support homegrown energy produced by American workers.
In 2009, the President directed the Federal Government to become a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency when he signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, setting aggressive targets for Federal agencies for reducing energy use, carbon pollution and waste in their operations, and saving taxpayer dollars as a result. At the President’s direction, the Federal Government already has:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent from FY 2008 levels – the equivalent of permanently taking 1.5 million cars off the road.
- Reduced energy use per square foot in Federal buildings by more than 9 percent since FY 2008, curbing pollution and reducing utility bills.
- Consumed more than 7 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind in FY2013, exceeding statutory requirements and promoting homegrown energy industries.
The release of the Presidential Memorandum and Federal Agency Sustainability Plans cap a week of Administration clean energy and energy efficiency announcements, including:
Expanding the Better Buildings Challenge
On Tuesday, building on $2 billion in financing commitments from the private sector for energy efficiency updates to commercial buildings under the President’s Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an expansion of the Challenge to multifamily housing such as apartments and condominiums, and launched the Better Buildings Accelerators to support state- and local government-led efforts to cut energy waste. Following Federal agencies’ commitment over the past two years to a pipeline of $2.3 billion in performance-based contracts for energy efficiency upgrades under the Challenge, the Administration also announced Federal agencies will further expand their use of performance-based contracts through 2016 to upgrade the energy efficiency of Federal buildings at no cost to taxpayers.
Releasing a 2014 Fuel Economy Guide
On Tuesday, DOE and U.S. EPA released a 2014 Fuel Economy Guide that provides consumers reliable, user-friendly information that can help them choose the right fuel efficient vehicle for their family and business and save money at the pump. The guide provides “Top Ten” lists allowing consumers to see the most efficient advanced technology vehicles as well as the most efficient gasoline and diesel powered vehicles, and includes information on efficient and low-emission vehicles in a variety of classes and sizes, ensuring a wide variety of choices available for consumers.
Launching a New Energy Efficiency Loan Program
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. The program will help American families and businesses in rural areas cut their energy bills by making financing more readily available for energy efficiency measures that reduce home energy use by up to 40 percent.
With the help of unprecedented investments in clean energy during the Obama Administration, the U.S. has already met the bold goal President Obama set to double renewable energy production in this country from sources such as solar and wind from 2008 levels. As part of the President’s commitment to expanding renewable energy production in the U.S., the Department of Defense last year committed to deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025 – enough to power 750,000 homes, and since 2009, the Department of the Interior has approved dozens of wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands – enough energy to power more than 4.6 million homes and support more than 19,000 construction and operations jobs. In his 2013 State of the Union Address, the President established new national goals to increase American energy independence by doubling renewable energy production again by 2020, cutting energy waste in half, and increasing energy productivity.
The Presidential Memorandum signed today implements the goal the President outlined in his June 2013 Climate Action Plan that challenged Federal agencies to more than double their renewable electricity consumption by 2020. As part of this effort, agencies will identify formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites to target for renewable energy projects, providing valuable opportunities to return those lands to productive use. To improve agencies’ ability to manage energy consumption and reduce costs, the Memorandum directs them to use Green Button, a tool developed by industry in response to a White House call-to-action that provides utility customers with easy and secure access to their energy usage information in a consumer-friendly format.
(NOTE: This is a White House press release)