President Obama Positions US With Actions on Efficiency, Renewables

Following up on his announcement on eliminating HFCs, President Obama turned to expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy today.

These "commitments and Executive Actions illustrate federal, state and local leadership to create jobs and cut carbon pollution," he says, in another attempt to display US leadership ahead of the UN Climate Summit next week. 

President Obama will give a speech at the summit, where he will  "call on world leaders to keep their ambitions high."

On a call with reporters, senior adviser John Podesta said Obama wants to "show the US is committed to lead the fight against climate change. This week and next, members of the Cabinet are going out around the country, amplifying the president’s message that the time for ambitious climate action is now."

Latest Actions

Combined, the actions will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills, he says. 

350 companies, states, communities, and multifamily housing
leaders committed to increase energy efficiency in over 1.4 billion square feet of buildings and add 885 megawatts of solar.

Some of these initiatives are among those Obama announced in May.

Executive Actions:

  • Three military bases will participate in a pilot program that trains veterans for solar jobs this fall, as part of the Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network.  The goal is for at least 50,000 highly-qualified solar
    installers to enter the industry by 2020, after training 22,000 people since 2010.
  • USDA will invest $68 million in 540 renewable energy and
    energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects. Funds come from the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which provides loans and grants to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for this purpose. 

Solar at Lundberg Farms:

Solar at Lundberg Farms

  • Building codes are being updated to meet the latest ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard (commercial) and International Energy Conservation Code (residential);
  • DOE is proposing an energy efficiency standard for commercial air conditioners, which could cut energy use by more than half of that used residentially in a year.
  • Funding for clean energy and energy efficiency in affordable housing through HUD’s clarification that Section 108 can be used for such projects. HUD’s renewable energy toolkit will help communities access funds by early next year.
  • DOE is
    launching Solar Powering America – a one-stop-shop that helps people access federal resources that drive solar
    deployment, in addition to DOE’s Guide
    to Federal Financing for Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Deployment

Some of the Private & Public Commitments are:

  • Cisco Systems will have 2.7 MW of onsite solar by 2015, as part of its goal to generate 25% of energy from renewables by 2017.
  • Becton, Dickinson will add a 630 kW solar system at a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico and 5 MW across three states.
  • 3M, Cisco and Kimberly-Clark and other corporations will get employees significant discounts on home-based solar systems by aggregating purchases.
  • The District of Columbia Housing
    Authority plans to install almost 1 MW of solar across 20 sites.
  • Beaverton, Oregon is building a 433 kW solar system over an underground water reservoir. Solar will power the city’s water pumping station, the city’s largest electricity-user. 
  • Montgomery County, Maryland is installing 6 MW of solar PV at 17 public buildings such as libraries, recreation centers, administrative buildings, and parking lots.   
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