On December 5, 2013, President Barack Obama issued a Memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies to increase their development and use of new renewable energy sources.

With respect to renewable energy, the President increased the current goal of having at least 7.5 percent of the electrical energy consumed by an agency be renewable energy by 2020 (as established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005) to 20 percent by 2020, with a ramp up starting with 10 percent in 2015.  The Memorandum instructed agencies to meet that goal by increasing the use of wind, solar, geothermal and other energy sources to meet their needs to the extent that is “economically feasible and technically practicable.”

The Memorandum encourages the installation of renewable energy on-site at federal facilities as opposed to purchases of renewable energy credits by allowing agencies to double count energy where the energy is produced on federal or Indian lands.  It should be noted that while the Memorandum states that renewable energy credits must come from “new renewable sources,” “new” is defined as a source placed in service within ten years prior to the start of the applicable fiscal year.

While the agency mandate is limited to those actions that are “economically feasible and technically practicable,” it should result in more opportunities for development of renewable energy in the United States.

A copy of the Memorandum can be viewed here.