Today (March 19) President Barack Obama (D) signed an Executive Order requiring the federal government to increase its use of renewable energy to 30 percent and to reduce its emissions. Under the order federal agencies will reduce their emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels by 2025.
Obama made the announcement at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters which has solar panels on its roof. The move was haled by clean energy advocates like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “When it comes to fighting climate change and transitioning to a clean energy future, President Obama is once again leading by example,” said SEIA President Rhone Resch. “We applaud his tireless efforts—and those of his administration. Clearly, climate change threatens our economy, our future progress, our health and safety, and even our way of life.”The White House said the executive order will save taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs. “Together, the combined results of the federal government actions and new supplier commitments will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 million metric tons by 2025 from 2008 levels, the equivalent of taking nearly 5.5 million cars off the road for a year.”
In addition The White House also is encouraging other major federal suppliers. As such the administration released a new scorecard to track its major suppliers’ self-reported emissions disclosure and progress. The suppliers participating in the scorecard account for $187 billion in federal spending accounting for more than 40 percent of all federal contracts. These include companies like GE, HP and United Technologies.
Under the order federal agencies will source 25 percent of their total energy use, both electric and thermal energy, from clean energy sources by 2025. At the same time federal buildings have to reduce their energy use by 2.5 percent between 2015 and 2025.
SEIA said the solar industry is ready to help. “We’re also prepared help lead this effort,” Resch said. “The U.S. solar energy industry is uniquely poised to help. Think of all the wasted space on top of federal buildings—many of them larger than football fields. We’re ready to work with federal agencies to turn those dead zones into vibrant solar arrays, generating clean, reliable and affordable electricity for our federal workforce.”
The White House said the efforts build on an executive order signed by the President in 2009. Under the Federal Leadership on Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance executive order the government reduced its emissions by 17 percent, avoiding $1.8 billion in cumulative energy costs and increasing its renewable energy consumption to 9 percent.Tweet