By signing contracts and purchasing for renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades, the federal government will save taxpayers $8 billion in energy spending over the next 18 years, according to the White House. The company largely exceeded the goal through performance contracts.
“Upgrading the energy performance of buildings is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce energy costs, cut pollution, and create jobs in the construction and energy sectors,” President Obama said when he first challenged federal agencies to sign performance contracts. When he launched the program in 2011 he challenged the government to leverage $2 billion dollars in performance contracts. He doubled the goal to $4 billion by the end of December 2016.
In all, the federal government has awarded 340 projects across 21 federal agencies representing $4.2 billion in value. The contracts will reduce the federal government’s energy spending by $8 billion over the next 18 years, according to the Obama Administration’s Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada. The contracts offset the costs of new equipment, maintenance, renewable energy, and infrastructure upgrades to achieve the overall energy savings.
The energy performance contracts allow the government to partner with the private sector to use long-term savings created by energy efficiency projects to pay for or finance the up-front costs of such projects at no net cost to taxpayers, according to Harada. In developing the contracts federal agencies relied on contracting and technical expertise from the Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers, she explained.
“Despite aging facilities and tight budgets, we have made huge strides meeting and exceeding our goals,” Harada said. “Since 2008, the Federal government has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent, more than doubled the amount of renewable energy produced on-site, and decreased spending on targeted facilities by $683 million.”
As an example, Hararda offered up the example of a General Services Administration (GSA) facility in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That facility signed a $6.4 million performance contract, which turned a facility into a net-zero building saving $500,000 on energy costs annually. The total cost of the initial investment will be recouped within 12 to 13 years of the contract while saving taxpayers money.
The White House said that not only are the performance contracts saving taxpayer money, they’re also creating jobs. Thus far the challenge has helped create 30,000 jobs in the US.
The agency that’s probably done the most to update it’s energy infrastructure is likely the Department of Defense. It’s installed solar, wind and energy efficiency updates at many of its facilities around the country to reduce its use of imported fuels and increase its energy security. The Army, for instance, is awarding up to $7 billion in energy contracts to update its bases and other installations with renewable energy.Tweet