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Quick Take: As you can read below, the White House has issued a presidential memorandum that more than doubles the government's renewable energy goal. Among other things, it requires the government to get 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
That target alone will have big implications for utilities, given how big the government is, how much energy it buys, and how influential it is. (For instance, you can expect many state governments to follow suit, if they haven't already.)
And there are several other clauses that may have big impacts as they ripple out from the federal government to become common throughout the land. For instance, agencies are instructed to install renewables on-site as their first priority. Only if that's not possible are they supposed to buy it from the outside. Can you imagine the impact if every single federal facility installed rooftop solar and energy storage?
Agencies are also asked to install renewables on current or formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites. What's more, they are encouraged to install smart meters and sub-meters for electricity and water and to publicly disclose their annual performance. Where feasible, they are to use the Green Button standard for reporting. If that's not enough, they are also asked to participate in demand response programs whenever feasible.
We've known for a while that a very different future was headed our way. If the new White House mandates create a domino effect and others follow suit, that future may get here faster than we expected. - By Jesse Berst
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 5, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Federal Leadership on Energy Management
In order to create a clean energy economy that will increase our Nation's prosperity, promote energy security, combat climate change, protect the interests of taxpayers, and safeguard the health of our environment, the Federal Government must lead by example. During my Administration, Federal agencies have reduced their annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent (7.8 million metric tons) -- the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road. Today I am establishing new goals for renewable energy as well as new energy-management practices.
Agencies are already well on their way towards meeting the aggressive sustainability goals set forth in Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009 (Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance). This memorandum establishes a new target for Federal use of renewable energy that challenges agencies to more than double their renewable electricity consumption. In order to improve their ability to manage energy consumption, promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve the sustainability goals set forth in Executive Order 13514, this memorandum also directs agencies to update their building-performance and energy-management practices, by encouraging the use of the consensus-based, industry-standard Green Button data access system (Green Button) and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
To help agencies achieve my Administration's climate change goals and increase development of new renewable energy sources, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Renewable Energy Target. (a) By fiscal year 2020, to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable, 20 percent of the total amount of electric energy consumed by each agency during any fiscal year shall be renewable energy.
(b) Agencies shall seek to achieve the renewable energy consumption target set forth in subsection (a) of this section by, where possible, taking the following actions, which are listed in order of priority:
(i) installing agency-funded renewable energy on-site at Federal facilities and retain renewable energy certificates;
(ii) contracting for energy that includes the installation of a renewable energy project on-site at a Federal facility or off-site from a Federal facility and the retention of renewable energy certificates for the term of the contract;
(iii) purchasing electricity and corresponding renewable energy certificates; and
(iv) purchasing renewable energy certificates.
(c) Agencies shall ensure that 100 percent of renewable energy certificates identified in subsection (b)(iii) and (b)(iv) of this section are produced by new renewable sources as defined in section 5(c) of this memorandum.
(d) Agencies shall consider opportunities, to the extent economically feasible and technically practical, to install or contract for energy installed on current or formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites.
Page 2: More on renewable energy mandates >>