President Obama Announces Commitments and Executive Actions to Advance Solar Deployment and Energy Efficiency

Source: Greentech Media

If your morning commute on the San Francisco Peninsula was more turgid than usual, it’s because President Barack Obama was moving about in the area. He followed an evening of fundraising in Los Altos and San Jose with a speech on energy and energy efficiency at the Walmart store in Mountain View before departing from Moffett Field and returning to Washington, D.C.

The Obama administration is pushing hard on its climate and energy initiatives.

Obama announced commitments from hundreds of public and private companies and organizations including Home Depot, Ikea, Yahoo, Google, Lennar Homes and Goldman Sachs to push solar energy and energy efficiency. The commitments amount to 850 megawatts of solar power, according to a press release.

The president stressed energy efficiency in his speech, his administration having just announced two new appliance and equipment-efficiency standards covering large electric motors commonly used in industry and commercial buildings and walk-in coolers and freezers. Appliance Standards Awareness Project executive director Andrew deLaski suggested that “more than $26 billion in electric bill savings [can be] achieved by 2030 from the new standards.”

Obama’s announcement also addressed increasing the billions of investment in energy efficiency for the federal building fleet; adopting the most current commercial building codes; and enabling finance for energy efficiency in multifamily housing. Obama repeated the GTM statistic that a new solar roof is installed every 4 minutes and acknowledged the climate report released earlier this week.

The Hill notes, “The clean energy push by the administration comes as the Senate is struggling to pass a bill aimed at energy efficiency itself. Possible votes on Keystone XL, natural gas exports, and the administration’s carbon regulations, however, may kill the bill.”

Letha Tawney, senior associate at the World Resources Institute’s Charge Program, said, “WRI’s research has shown time and time again that renewable energy can be the most affordable option for businesses. The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80 percent since 2008, resulting in a surge of interest from households to multinational corporations. In states like Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota, utilities are also finding that providing their customers with renewable energy is cheaper than using fossil fuels.”

“We’re thrilled to see the president taking so much leadership around solar deployment,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives, who participated in today’s presidential announcement in Mountain View. “We will continue to work with the administration to ensure that our most economically vulnerable and underserved communities are included in our nation’s transition to clean energy.”

Obama also reminded the crowd of the Mother’s Day holiday in what he called a “public service announcement.”


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