Agencies use of renewable energy at all-time high

Monday - 7/28/2014, 6:20am EDT

By Ariel Levin-Waldman
Special to Federal News Radio

Agencies are ahead of their goals to use green energy.

More than 9 percent of the government's energy comes from renewable sources, passing the 7.5 percent goal set for 2013 under the White House's green government initiative.

Additionally, the latest Office of Management and Budget's climate change report released Friday found indirect greenhouse gases dropped close to 20 percent, well above the 13 percent goal. The White House says total greenhouse gas emissions are down 17 percent, the equivalent of taking 1.8 million cars off the road.

Agencies released their sustainability scorecards Friday. The scorecards chart whether or not agencies are on track to meet sustainability goals.

While the government is meeting and exceeding its overall green goals, not all agencies are receiving positive marks. The Defense and Transportation departments both earned red scores for energy intensity and sustainable buildings. On the other side of the fence, the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency scored green marks in all categories.

OMB also released new benchmarks for 2020. It wants a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and wants to increase renewable energy use to 20 percent. OMB also wants an additional $2 billion in contract awards for green projects by 2016. In fact, GSA and DoD combined in May to award a contract to develop 30- megawatt, alternating current, solar photovoltaic arrays at three installations in Georgia — Forts Stewart, Gordon and Benning, making it the largest federal renewable energy program.

Additionally, the Energy Department is writing a new renewable energy guidance with broad comment and input from federal agencies.

Agencies issue their progress reports annually as required by President Barack Obama's 2009 executive order. The order listed specific targets, such as reducing vehicle fleet petroleum use by 30 percent by 2020, recycling half of all waste by 2015 and having 95 percent of applicable contracts meet sustainability requirements. OMB first made the scorecards public in 2011.

Ariel Levin-Waldman is an intern with Federal News Radio

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