The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

US Government Recommits to Renewable Energy Ramp-up

Today the Obama administration issued an executive order re-establishing one of the proclamations from the climate change plans it issued this summer: significantly boosting the U.S. federal government's support of renewable energy to supply 20 percent of its energy consumption by 2020.

The U.S. federal government's broad climate-change initiatives issued earlier this summer gained a lot of notice for their emphasis on standards for carbon pollution reductions and energy efficiency. They also pressed the Department of Interior (DOI) to expand permitting of renewable energy projects on federal lands. Now the Obama administration is revisiting and reiterating another part of that broad climate plan: expanding the federal government's electricity consumption from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020, nearly triple the current 7.5 percent. (It adds the window of uncertainty, though, that such a target must be "economically feasible and technically practicable.")

The order maintains the definitions of "renewable energy" as those laid out in Executive Order 13514 circa 2009: solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal, municipal solid waste, and new hydroelectric generation capacity from existing projects (increasing their efficiency or adding more capacity).

This 20/2020 renewables mandate prioritizes on-site production or procurement, retaining renewable energy certificates (REC); followed by purchasing the electricity and RECs, and then just purchasing the RECs alone. For on-site projects the government urges a focus on brownfield sites including contaminated lands, landfills, and mines. There's also a plan to add Green Button pilots on federal facilities, coordinating efforts among the DOE, FEMP, and EPA, which will update the Energy Star Portfolio Manager to include building energy usage data using Green Button.

Here's the official roadmap being laid out for federal renewable energy consumption:

  • Fiscal 2015: Not less than 10 percent
  • Fiscal 2016-17: Not less than 15 percent
  • Fiscal 2018-19: Not less than 17.5 percent
  • Fiscal 2020: Not less than 20 percent

Note the U.S. military arms already are under a legal mandate to reach 25 percent renewable energy consumption by 2025, which will amount to 1 GW of new installed capacity each for the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

What's missing, of course, is any direction or definition on how agencies and federal facilities should build or obtain all this new capacity, what is the overall mix among renewable sources, how much money this effort will save, or how it will be paid for.

Nevertheless, "this is a landmark moment in our nation's history," proclaimed Rhone Resch, president/CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The solar industry is already doing its part, with more than 10 GW of installed capacity and representing nearly all the nation's new electricity generation. He also urged the administration to set up a more modernized procurement process that lets agencies adopt long-term power purchase agreements (PPA).

Nathanael Greene at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) applauds the new standards, but points out that Congress needs to throw its weight behind renewable energy as well, by extending federal tax credits, most notably the PTC.

Back in June the Union of Concerned Scientists' Mike Jacobs suggested those 20/2020 goals shouldn't be too difficult given that many states are already approaching or even exceed that number.

We'll keep updating this story as more details and analysis becomes available.

Lead image: Grass twenty percent, via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

NHA Recognizes Five Companies as Outstanding Stewards of America's Waters

Five companies have been recognized by the National Hydropower Association as recipients of its Outstanding Stewards of America's Water awards program for positive excellence in recreational, historical, environmental or ed...

India's 330-MW Alaknanda Hydropower Plant Enters Commercial Operation

Indian infrastructure group GVK has put the first unit at its 330-MW Alaknanda hydropower plant into commercial operation, following synchronization with the country's northern grid earlier this month.

Marine Energy Sector Continues Growing Worldwide, Despite Economic Setbacks

A report released recently by the International Energy Agency's Ocean Energy Systems shows that the marine and hydrokinetic sector moved closer to commercial viability through 2014.

Leaders Sign "Declaration of Principles" for 6,000-MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Hydropower Project

Leaders from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to end a long-time dispute regarding the controversial 6,000-MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance hydropower plant.
Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

Using Grid data analytics to protect revenue, reduce network losses...

Schneider Electric and Awesense have combined expertise to develop integ...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS