As we move further into spring and prepare for lengthy debates in Congress and the Administration over what climate policies, mandates, and investments can be passed this year, it is worth remembering that there are actions that the White House can take immediately to reduce its emissions footprint.
At the top of that list should be buying only clean, zero-emissions electricity that is available all hours of every day, everywhere. That’s what Clean Air Task Force, other environmental non-profits, and a group of leading companies like Google are asking of the Biden Administration.
The case for this is simple, and the impact could be profound. The U.S. federal government is the largest purchaser of electricity in the U.S. In 2019, the federal government consumed approximately 53.8 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity, of which 4.6 million MWh (or 8.6%) were counted as renewable resources. Overall, the U.S. federal government spends $500 billion on procurement every year. In short, this money and major source of demand should be put to use right away to support clean energy deployment in communities around the country.
By advancing the principles of higher impact federal procurement – locally generated, driven by consumption that can be matched hourly, and using eligible clean generating technologies – this Administration can issue guidance to its agencies that will make good on its climate promises.