President more than doubles renewables target for government

In the latest step under his Climate Action Plan, President Obama on Dec. 5 signed a memorandum directing the federal government to consume 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

That is more than double the current level. Meeting this renewable energy goal will reduce pollution, promote American energy independence, and support homegrown energy produced by American workers, the administration said in a Dec. 5 statement.

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% from FY 2008 levels.
  • Reduced energy use per square foot in federal buildings by more than 9% since FY 2008. 
  • Consumed more than 7% of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind in FY 2013, exceeding statutory requirements and promoting homegrown energy industries.    

Also, on Dec. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250m 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%.  

With the help of unprecedented investments in clean energy during the Obama Administration, the U.S. has already met the goal 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 3 GW of renewable energy on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025. Since 2009, the Department of the Interior has approved dozens of wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands.

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 on Dec. 5 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 opportunities to return those lands to productive use.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.