Feb 9, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Exclusive: Biden admin plans major carbon-free electricity buy

Illustration of a shopping cart icon with a lighting bolt

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The General Services Administration and Department of Defense are looking for suppliers that could provide federal facilities in 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states with 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030.

Why it matters: Such a clean energy procurement would be one of the government's largest on record for its vast real estate portfolio.

Zoom in: The request for information that GSA and the DoD are publishing specifically looks for contractors who could offer carbon-free electricity for civil and defense agencies, located where the PJM Interconnection is the regional transmission operator.

  • This is a part of the grid that coordinates electricity transmission through all or parts of states where there are significant government assets, including Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • The agencies expect to seek about 2.7 million megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity per year, which the GSA said is equivalent to powering about 250,000 homes for a year.
  • The agency confirmed to Axios that it plans to make the purchase at the size stated in the RFI sometime this spring or summer.

The big picture: The government's latest move to buy renewable electricity for federal facilities follows up on a 2021 executive order. President Biden called on the federal government to transition to 100% carbon-free electricity on a net annual basis by 2030.

  • In a statement, the GSA said it has already signed agreements that would increase the government's reliance on clean energy from 38% to 47%.
  • According to GSA data, the government is the country's largest energy consumer and maintains more than 300,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles.

What they're saying: "The federal government is a steady customer prepared to make long-term investments," said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan in a statement.

  • "We're using the government's buying power to spur demand for clean, carbon pollution-free electricity," she said, noting the potential for the purchases to create more renewable energy-related jobs.
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