On March 19, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order aimed at maintaining Federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The new Executive Order creates significant new purchasing requirements for Federal agencies. These new requirements are something that NAATBatt has long advocated.
While other organizations have devoted significant resources to advocating legislative initiatives in support of energy storage and electric transportation, NAATBatt has long maintained that the most important thing the federal government can do to promote new, market-ready energy storage technologies is simply to use its own spending power to create a market for them. The ability of the federal government to create markets for energy products is particularly powerful. The federal government is the largest user of energy in the United States economy — encompassing 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles and $445 billion in annual spending on goods and services.
Some of the requirements of the new Executive Order that will impact the market for advanced batteries and energy storage systems are:
• Reducing agency building energy intensity by 2.5 percent, including by participating in demand management programs (regrettably this objective is still expressed in terms of reducing total aggregated energy intensity rather than terms of reducing demand peaks).
• Ensuring that renewable and alternative energy accounts for not less than 25% of total electric energy and thermal energy consumed in federal agency buildings by 2025.
• Ensuring that renewable and alternative energy accounts for not less than 30% of the total amount of electric energy consumed in federal agency buildings by 2025.
• Implementing other alternative energy approaches (presumably including storage) that advance the goal of reducing scope 1 and 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by the end of fiscal year 2025 relative to a fiscal year 2008 baseline. (Note: Although installing fuel cell energy systems at Federal facilities is specifically identified as an approved action, installing battery storage is not).
• For agencies that operate a fleet of at least 20 motor vehicles, planning for agency fleet composition such that by December 31, 2025, zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 50 percent of all new agency passenger vehicles.
• Planning for appropriate charging or refueling infrastructure or other power storage technologies for zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles and opportunities for ancillary services to support vehicle-to-grid technology.
• Ensuring, beginning in fiscal year 2020 and thereafter that all new construction of Federal buildings greater than 5,000 gross square feet is designed to achieve energy net-zero.
Although significant work needs to be done by the advanced battery industry in order to ensure that the concept of energy efficiency contained in the Executive Order reflects an appropriate time component (i.e., a grid connected Federal facility that uses 1 MW of electricity each hour of a day is far more environmentally friendly than a grid connected Federal facility that uses 23 MW of electricity in a day, but all between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.) and more certainly includes energy storage, the new Executive Order should provide a robust new federal market for advanced batteries and energy storage systems. This new federal market will allow those technologies to mature and move more rapidly into the private sector market.