WASHINGTON, USA: Building on the President’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s effort to diversify our energy portfolio and cut energy waste, the Energy Department announced a series of executive actions to expand the deployment of renewable energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Altogether, these measures will bring the US closer to its clean energy future, while protecting the environment and helping Americans save money by saving energy.
New effort to train skilled veterans, drive solar deployment
Record-breaking growth in the solar industry over the past few years is driving high demand for skilled solar workers. To connect skilled veterans to the clean energy industry, the Energy Department’s Solar Instructor Training Network is launching a pilot job training program for veterans at up to three military bases this fall.
The network aims to connect talented veterans with the Department’s extensive network of more than 400 community college-based solar training institutions.
Further cost reductions in solar energy
Solar energy deployment continues to grow at a rapid pace in the U.S. as costs continue to fall substantially. Three studies conducted by the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) highlight the decline of solar energy costs across utility, residential and commercial scale systems.
Additionally, LBNL’s Tracking the Sun study finds that in 2013, the installed price of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems continued to decline rapidly in recent years, falling by 12 to 15 percent from the prior year, depending on the size of the system.
The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative also announced a new online tool to chip away at solar soft costs– like interconnection, permitting, and financing. A new website, Solar Powering America, provides easy access to a variety of resources to encourage solar deployment, including funding programs, best practices, and interactive tools and datasets from multiple federal agencies.
Better Buildings challenge gains 28 new partners
President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge in February 2011 to accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency and make commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade.
Today, 28 new states, cities, multifamily housing organizations, retailers, commercial real estate organizations and manufacturing organizations announced that they are joining the Better Buildings Challenge. These new Partners have committed to improve the energy efficiency of more than 400 million square feet of building space. In total, more than 200 Better Buildings Challenge Partners, representing more than 3 billion square feet, 600 manufacturing plants and more than $2 billion in financing, are on track to meet the 2020 goal. The new partners are:
* State of New York
* Chula Vista, CA
* Beacon Communities, MA
* The Boston Land Company, MA
* Century Housing, CA
* Cheyenne Housing Authority, WY
* Cion Housing, NM
* Darigold, WA
* District of Columbia Housing Authority
* East Hartford Housing Authority, CT
* Haverty’s, GA
* Housing Authority of McDonough County, GA
* FirstService Residential, NY
* Fort Wayne Housing Authority, IN
* Houston Housing Authority, TX
* Island Grove Village Apartments, CO
* JBG Commercial, MD
* Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, MA
* Korman Residential Properties, PA
* The Model Group, OH
* Nevada Rural Housing Authority, NV
* New Life Homes, NM
* Peabody Properties, MA
* Presby’s Inspired Life, PA
* Schochet Companies, MA
* The Silver Group, CA.
Additionally, five new state, local and regional organizations are joining the Better Buildings High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, bringing the Department closer to exceeding the goal to replace more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles with more efficient ones by 2016. The new partners are:
* Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
* Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office
* Southern California Regional Energy Office
* Portland, Maine
* Flint, Michigan.
Efficiency standard for commercial air conditioners proposed
Building on the effort to help Americans save money by saving energy, the Department issued a proposed energy efficiency conservation standard for commercial unitary air conditioners, often used in commercial and industrial buildings.
If finalized as proposed, the standard would save 11.7 quads of energy over the lifetime of units shipped over 30 years, the largest energy savings estimated for any efficiency standard issued by the Department to date, while also potentially helping to cut more than 60 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030. The standard could expected to save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030.