With over 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles, and $460 billion in annual purchasing power, the U.S. federal government is the nation's largest energy user and uniquely positioned to show how sustainability can save money, spur economic growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative works closely with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to promote GreenGov, a wide ranging Obama Administration initiative to encourage the use of more renewable energy and sustainability practices throughout the federal government.
For the last two years, the University campus, located just a few blocks from the White House, has hosted the annual GreenGov Symposium as well as a series of smaller events that brought together key stakeholders to tackle issues such as renewable energy power purchase agreements and vehicle fleet electricification. The Sustainability Collaborate has also created a series of GreenGov Case Studies aimed at helping federal energy managers learn best practices from the peers on implementing sustainability at their agencies.
GreenGov Symposium 2016
On September 8, 2016, the 2016 GreenGov Symposium brought together senior Administration officials and Federal sustainability stakeholders to discuss strategies to green the fleet, improve water management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy, and improve resiliency across the Federal Government. Over 50 expert speakers, as well as leaders like Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Dan Utech, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy And Climate Change, and Christine Harada, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, spoke and contributed to the day's engaging discussion.
GW Solar Institute Director Amit Ronen moderated the kick-off panel on "Advancing Clean Energy: Lessons Learned During the Obama Administration," which focused on evaluating the efficacy of various White House policies and initiatives to promote renewable energy over the past eight years. The expert panel, which included Diane Denton, Director of Environmental and Energy Policy and Sustainability, Duke Energy, Greg Dotson, Vice President, Energy Policy, Center for American Progress, Jon Powers, Co-Founder, CleanCapital, and Scott Sklar, President, the Stella Group, panel also speculated on how these policies might differ in the next Administration.
GreenGov Symposium 2015
On June 10, 2015, the GW Sustainability Collaborative partnered with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to organize and host the 2015 GreenGov Symposium to highlight the federal government's sustainability achievements and discuss strategies and practices that can help meet the aggressive new environmental targets contained in President Obama's March 2015 Executive Order 13693. With responsibility for over 360,000 buildings, 650,000 vehicles, and spending $445 billion spent each year on good and services, the federal government can utilize sustainability practices to significantly reduce pollution and save money, as well as help launch new markets and set an example for the larger U.S. economy.
Over 50 federal department and agency representatives attended the day-long event, hearing from such top government leaders as EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss, and former Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt.
GW Solar Institute Director Amit Ronen moderated the kickoff panel entitled "The Clean Dream: Achieving 30% Clean Energy by 2025", which focused on one of the key requirements of Executive Order 13693 that every Executive Branch agency ensure that at least 30 percent of the total amount of building electric energy consumed by 2025 is renewable electric energy. To meet that goal, the federal government will essentially have to triple its current renewables energy use within a decade, although agency specific clean energy use rates differ significantly. Click here to view a video of the panel discussion and audience questions.
GreenGov Renewables Dialogue 2015
As a follow-up to the 2015 Symposium, the GW Sustainability Collaborative hosted a GreenGov dialogue on one of the key topics discussed at the Symposium, how the Federal agencies can utilize power purchase agreements (PPAs), such as the model agreement GW completed with Duke Energy Renewables in June 2014, to meet the aggressive goals set in Executive Order 13693 which requires the Federal Government to obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Key representatives from the public, private, and NGO sectors were brought together for an engaging discussion of the pros and cons of using PPAs and how the Federal Government can create an additional demand-pull for renewable energy, particularly given the pending expiration of tax incentives.
The GW Solar Institute used some of the resulting recommendations to create a case study designed to help federal managers and others learn how to use Power Purchase Agreements to easily and affordably procure renewable energy for their organizations.
GreenGov Solar Dialogue 2010
GW first worked with the White House on these issues in 2010, when the campus hosted leaders from Federal, state and local governments, nonprofit and academic communities and the private sector to identify opportunities around greening the Federal Government. During the three day educational event, participants shared challenges and best practices, and discussed cutting-edge approaches for the future.