Donohue Voices Support for a Bipartisan Energy Initiative that Spans Multiple Administrations
WASHINGTON D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce voiced its support for the Obama administration’s call today to achieve greater energy efficiency in federal buildings through the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs), an existing program that uses long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs.
“We have been pushing the ESPC program for more than a decade because it holds tremendous potential,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “It is a surefire way to create jobs and make our nation’s federal buildings more energy efficient, all without using a penny of taxpayer money.”
Donohue commended the work of President Bill Clinton, whose leadership helped streamline this program, and President George W. Bush, who included the program in his energy policy as well. “This is a program that crosses parties and spans administrations,” Donohue said.
“Despite the benefits of ESPCs, the program has been grossly underutilized,” he said “We have urged lawmakers to address the impediments that are preventing federal agencies from taking advantage of the program. This $2 billion program is a small step toward creating jobs and increasing our energy security. What we need is a leap forward, and I hope we can build on the momentum and adopt more commonsense policies that will put Americans to work. The ESPC program is a promising opportunity for the private and public sectors to work as partners and tackle some of our nation’s priorities. But with millions of jobs at stake, there is much more left to be done.”
Donohue pointed to a recent analysis by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that said leveraging $80 billion in private sector funds over 15 years could result in $21 billion in net savings to the U.S. government. This could come while creating more than 40,000 new jobs annually for a decade and reducing oil consumption by 1.2 billion barrels. To maximize the benefits of the ESPC program, the Chamber recommends the following actions:
- Issuance of a Presidential Executive Order directing that agencies use ESPCs for the majority of their energy projects and energy-related infrastructure acquisitions. The Executive Order should state a preference of private sector financing mechanisms such as ESPCs and Utility Energy Services Contracting to upgrade federal facilities and meet energy efficiency and sustainability-related mandates and goals.
- Expanded training for federal ESPC employees and improvement of the level of contracting knowledge among agency officials responsible for management of ESPC programs. Where deficiencies in the knowledge base among contracting officials are noted, immediate steps should be undertaken to address and correct this problem.
- Congressional oversight and reporting. Agencies should be required to make periodic reports to Congress regarding the progress they are making in achieving the $80 billion ESPC target.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.