Statements and Speeches
Jun 15 2010
A copy of the testimony of Senator Thomas R. Carper as prepared for delivery:
“Today I would like to talk to you about some important opportunities to help the federal government cut its energy bill, save taxpayers’ money and benefit the environment.
“Over the past several months, the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, which I Chair, held hearings to examine how the federal government can lead by example in being more energy efficient.
“We learned, among other things, that the Federal Government is the single largest energy user in the nation. For example, in fiscal year 2008, the total energy consumption of Federal Government buildings and operations was roughly 1.5 percent of all energy consumption in the United States. The energy bill for the Federal Government that year was $24.5 billion! With a price tag that large, our Subcommittee knew there must be significant opportunities for savings.
“This is why I have introduced, the Improving Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Use by Federal Agencies Act of 2010. My legislation consists of a series of proposals that I believe will allow the federal government to take advantage of clean energy and energy efficiency opportunities that exist today.
“Already, many federal agencies are pursuing ideas and technologies to reduce the amount of energy they consume and reduce their air pollution footprint. Many of the provisions in the bill adopt these good, common-sense ideas.
“For example, some federal agencies are entering into Power Purchasing Agreements with private sector energy production companies. These agreements allow a company to build and produce privately-funded renewable energy on government land, like an unused portion of a military base, in exchange for cheaper electricity for the federal agency.
“This means an agency can reduce the cost of its energy use and help clean up our air by promoting renewable energy – all without spending a single taxpayer dollar. Not a bad way to do business.
“Currently, only the Department of Defense can enter into long-term power purchase agreements. Civilian agencies are restricted to only 10 year agreements. Longer agreements usually mean cheaper energy costs for the agency. That is why my bill allows long-term agreements for ALL agencies.
“The bill also requires federal agencies to consider and adopt new computer and software operations that use less energy. Recently, the Department of Veteran Affairs did this and the agency plans to save around $32 million over the next 5 years.
“My bill also establishes a $500 million revolving fund to provide financial support for federal agency energy efficiency and renewable projects. This fund would increase the number of agency energy efficiency projects, such as new heating and cooling systems, which save on operations costs. Money from energy savings from the projects would be paid back into the fund over time, and eventually fund additional projects.
“I am also interested in adopting common sense ideas from the private sector. There’s an old saying that goes, ‘You can’t manage, what you can’t measure.’ It can easily be applied to energy use. During my subcommittee hearings I learned that, with digital technology, we can save energy and money by monitoring the energy used in buildings - even machinery in the buildings - in real-time.
“Wal-Mart already uses this technology because of the financial savings it brings. So from their headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, Wal-Mart knows if a freezer door has been left open for too long at their store in Middletown, Delaware.
“The federal government can and should do the same. The best part about deploying advanced metering is the fact that the investment pays for itself in less than a year.
“These great ideas and others are ways we can easily reduce our government’s energy consumption and reduce our federal budget.
“I look forward to working with the Energy Committee as it examines the Improving Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Use by Federal Agencies Act. I believe this legislation will help the federal government lead by example, and demonstrate to the American people that energy efficiency efforts can pay real dividends in saving both money and the environment.”