This commentary originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.
Today president Obama took an important step toward supporting a clean energy future by directing the Federal Government to consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This is more than double the current level, making this a significant moment in President Obama’s second term.
Renewable energy has become cost-competitive over the years and the quality of innovative clean technologies has dramatically improved. These are clean, efficient, homegrown resources that we can count on now, and President Obama’s public support of renewables in this announcement will serve to further drive their competiveness in the market.
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.” Recommendations under this section ask agencies to install smart energy and water meters, participate in demand response where possible and make the data collected from smart meters publically available in order to better manage energy performance and allow for benchmarking.
This bold action is the latest step under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan released earlier this year and mirrors many of the advocacy issues EDF is currently working on under our smart power initiative.
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. Federal agencies have already made notable progress on the sustainability goals set forth in this order, reducing 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. The memorandum announced today will serve to further support the work these agencies are already doing to achieve the President’s climate change goals.
EDF applauds the Obama Administration for taking this important step toward doubling down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. The President understands that getting our energy future on the right path is an essential foundation that our country needs in order to be competitive, provide jobs and protect our health and environment.