On December 5, 2013, President Obama issued a Memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies to push the “Administration’s climate change goals and increase development of new renewable energy sources.”

With respect to renewable energy, the President increased the current goal of having at least 7.5% of the electrical energy consumed by an agency to be for renewable energy (as established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005) up to 20% by 2020 (with a ramp up starting with 10% in 2015).

The President encourages the installation of renewable energy on-site at federal facilities as opposed to purchases of renewable energy credits, including 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.

The President is clearly following through on his own vision for climate change and renewable energy requirements, and such goals are similar to renewable portfolio standards found in many states. However, like in several states, there is wiggle room regarding whether meeting such goals is “economically feasible and technically practicable.” Even with the wiggle room, it should offer more opportunity for development of renewable energy in the United States.

A copy of the Memorandum can be viewed here.