On October 2, The President proclaimed October “National Energy Awareness Month,” a month to recognize the contributions of individuals, organizations, and companies committed to taking charge and creating an American clean energy future.
So what was the Obama Administration up to during Energy Awareness Month?
October 5: The President Signs an Executive Order on Federal Sustainability which directs the Federal government to lead by example, practice what we preach and help build a clean energy economy through how we operate—a personnel of more than 1.8 million in the Federal government and military. The Order asks each agency to create a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. The full text on the order can be found here.
October 19: Vice President Biden Unveils Report Focused on Expanding Green Jobs And Energy Savings For Middle Class. Along with Secretaries Chu, Donovan, and Solis, Chair Sutley, and Administrators Mills and Jackson, Vice President Biden unveiled a report on the Recovery Through Retrofit program—a program that builds on the foundation laid in the Recovery Act to expand green job opportunities and boost energy savings by making homes more energy efficient. Since May 2009, eleven Departments and Agencies and six White House Offices have worked together and in mid-November, the group will submit an implementation plan to the Vice President. See video of the report’s release here.
October 19: White House Launches GreenGov Challenge—A Bottom-Up Approach to Greening Government, running from Oct. 19 — 31, challenges federal and military personnel to take part in implementing the President’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability by suggesting clean energy ideas and voting on others. This program can be found here and the video of the President’s announcement can be found here.
October 23: The President Challenges Americans to Lead the Global Economy in Clean Energy in Boston, MA. The President traveled to Boston, where workers will soon be breaking ground on a new Wind Technology Testing Center to test the world's newest and largest wind turbine blades. He also visited research laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on the frontiers of solar, battery, and wind technologies. Read the President's full remarks here.
October 27: President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid in 49 States. While in Arcadia, Florida the President, along with Carol Browner, the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, traveled to announce a $3.4 billion investment of Recovery Act funds to modernize the electric grid. The President spoke at Florida Power and Light’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center and announced that the $3.4 billion will go towards projects that will create tens of thousands of jobs, benefit consumers in 49 states, and be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion.To read more about the President’s travel see here.
From October 28 to 30, Cabinet Members and Administration officials fanned out across the country to discuss how the Smart Grid investment will create jobs, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical grid, and help bring clean energy sources from high-production states to those with less renewable generating capacity.
October 27: Vice President Announces the Reopening of a Once-Shuttered GM Factory that will soon put people back to work building plug-in, electric hybrid vehicles. The Vice President announced that auto production will be returning to an old GM assembly line in Wilmington, Deleware—an example of the partnership between states and workers through the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. Read more about the Vice President’s trip here.
October 28: Federal Agencies Enter an Agreement Regarding Transmission Siting on Federal Lands, releasing a Memorandum of Understanding signed by nine Federal Departments and Agencies to make it faster and simpler to build transmission lines on Federal lands. See more on the agreement here.
October 30: Secretary Chu and Chair Sutley honor National Weatherization Day, highlighting the numerous funds already provided to homes and businesses across the nation, to protect American families from weather damages, save consumers in their utility costs, and prevent the waste of excess energy.
Three Clean Energy Economy Forums Hosted at the White House. Since late August, the White House has hosted several clean energy briefings with energy stakeholder groups on the clean energy message. The first of such forums occurred on August 24 and brought in industry leaders and manufacturers from the Midwest. Just this month, three more forums brought hundreds of business and industry leaders to the White House to engage in discussion with senior Administration Officials on building the clean energy economy that will position us to prosper for generations to come. Videos of the forums can be found online here.
Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change