DOD Purchase of Renewable Energy Credits Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Energy Policy Act EPAct of 2005 established renewable energy goals for federal government agencies. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 directs the Secretary of Defense to establish a policy to maximize savings for the bulk purchase of replacement renewable energy certificates in connection with the development of facility energy projects using renewable energy sources. This requires that each service purchase replacement renewable energy certificates RECs through either a centralized purchasing authority within the respective department, or the Defense Logistics Agency DLA. A REC certifies that a renewable power generator has produced a certain amount of power according to set requirements and standards. In meeting past goals for using renewable-generated electricity, federal agencies purchased RECs without purchasing the associated power. In 2008, GAO reported that federal agencies continued to rely on RECs rather than site-generated renewable energy to meet EPAct goals. Though no statute has specifically authorized federal agencies to purchase RECs, they have become an attractive option for some federal facilities in meeting renewable energy mandates, particularly where renewable power was not readily available. Early on, federal agencies purchased RECs without purchasing the associated electricity in order to meet the building energy-intensity reduction goals of National Energy Conservation Policy Act. The Department of Energy s Federal Energy Management Program FEMP has advised, Because it defines renewable energy broadly, many different REC types can count towards an agency s renewable energy consumption requirement under EPAct 2005. Section 203 of EPAct 2005 specifies that renewable energy must be consumed to be credited toward the renewable energy goal 42 U.S.C. 15852a. However, Congress has not provided federal agencies explicit statutory authority to purchase RECs for meeting EPAct goals.
- Non-electrical Energy Conversion