WASHINGTON — With solar panels on top of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) headquarters serving as a backdrop, President Barack Obama vowed to cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels, saving taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs. Obama issued an executive order, which is part of the White House’s ongoing effort to fight climate change, requiring federal agencies to ensure that “25 percent of their total energy [electric and thermal] is from clean energy sources by 2025.”
Additionally, federal buildings must reduce their energy use by 2.5 percent between 2015 and 2025. In another newsworthy move, the president set a 30 percent renewable electricity target by 2025 for federal buildings.
“When it comes to fighting climate change and transitioning to a clean energy future, President Obama is once again leading by example. We applaud his tireless efforts and those of his administration. Clearly, climate change threatens our economy, future progress, health and safety, and way of life,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We’re also prepared to help lead this effort. As a quickly growing source of renewable energy in America, 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.”
Resch added, “Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide — more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined — and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy. This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM), and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. economy and our environment. Last year, solar also helped to offset more than 20 million metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 4 million cars from U.S. highways and roads. The U.S. solar energy industry has a proven track record of helping to fight climate change, and we’re prepared to do even more in the future.”
Publication date: 4/13/2015