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Policy Spotlight: Federal Sustainability Executive Order

January 11, 2022

Skip Wiltshire-Gordon, AnnDyl Policy Group LLC., Policy Associate

President Biden’s December Federal Sustainability Executive Order contains targets for a range of sectors within Federal agencies, including Zero-Emissions Vehicles, Carbon-Free Electricity, Net-Zero Buildings, and Net-Zero Federal operations and procurement.

On December 8, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14057 entitled “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability.” The EO sets specific goals to reduce Federal GHG emissions in an effort to lead by example towards President Biden’s previously-announced goal of 50-52 percent nationwide GHG reductions from 2005 levels by 2030. Alongside the EO, the White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) also released a Federal Sustainability Plan to offer more background and highlight strategies for Federal agencies to meet specific targets.

The Executive Order contains targets for a range of sectors within Federal agencies, including Zero-Emissions Vehicles, Carbon-Free Electricity, Net-Zero Buildings, and Net-Zero Federal operations and procurement. Importantly, agencies may be exempted from these targets if an agency head determines it is in the interest of national security—a key provision, given the Department of Defense was responsible for 56 percent of total Federal Government emissions in 2020. More background on Federal buildings and electric vehicles, along with a full sector-by-sector breakdown, is available below. As implementation of EO 14057 moves forward, AnnDyl will continue to track developments and engage with the Administration on behalf of our clients.

Buildings

In 2020, Federal buildings consumed 309 trillion Btu (a 26 percent decrease since 2003), and 120 billion gallons of water (a 28 percent decrease from 2007). Still, work remains—approximately 43 percent of all Federal GHG emissions are attributable to Federal buildings. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) within the Department of Energy (DOE) will play a critical role in meeting Federal targets. FEMP oversees and facilitates the implementation of Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) activities, highly effective public-private partnerships that improve building energy efficiency. Notably, EO 14057 requires agencies to use performance contracting to complete at least 50 percent of all energy and water savings measures, in accordance with the Energy Act of 2020. ESPCs—and energy efficiency—will be crucial to meeting President Biden’s net-zero goals.

EVs

Currently, of the 600,000 non-tactical vehicles that make up the Federal fleet, approximately 2,000 are Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs)—less than one percent. Federal charging infrastructure is similarly underdeveloped: there are approximately 700 charging stations currently located at Federal buildings and facilities across the country. Expanded Federal ZEV acquisitions, in tandem with new investments in EV charging from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), would bolster the EV market, in line with President Biden’s target for 50 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030.

Skip Wiltshire-Gordon is a Policy Associate at AnnDyl Policy Group, LLC. AnnDyl provides policy and advocacy services on behalf of a range of clients focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy. For more information about our work, click here.