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U.S. Government Achieves Renewable Energy Goals


The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced that it is on track to achieve the Obama Administration's 2020 renewable energy goals after awarding a competitive power supply contract. Responsible for procuring the goods and services – including energy – federal government agencies need to do their jobs, GSA contracted to purchase 140 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity from the Walnut Ridge Farm currently in development in northwest Illinois, according to a GSA news release.

The ten-year power supply contract is the largest wind energy purchase from a single source in federal government contracting history, according to GSA. It will add over 500,000 megawatt-hours (Mwh) of emissions-free wind-generated electricity per year to the PJM power grid.

GSA's latest renewable power purchase also gives a big boost to the Obama administration's efforts to promote renewable energy resource development and use among Native American communities. The Walnut Ridge wind farm is being developed by MG2 Tribal Energy, a joint venture the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians and commercial wind-power project developer Geronimo Energy.

Demonstrating renewable energy leadership

Determined that the federal government take on a leadership position in reducing carbon and greenhouse (GHG) emissions by making use of renewable energy resources, President Obama on February 5, 2013 issued “Presidential Memorandum – Federal Leadership on Energy Management.”

In the Presidential Memorandum, President Obama set a goal requiring federal government agencies to obtain 20 percent of the electricity they use annually from renewable energy resources by 2020. He noted that, during his tenure, federal agencies, as of December 2013, had reduced annual GHG emissions over 15 percent, by 7.8 million metric tons. That's the equivalent of taking some 1.5 million cars off the road. The purchase of 140 MWs of emissions-free wind power from Walnut Ridge will avoid an estimated additional 499,973 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year.

The GSA has calculated that it needs to procure 500,000 to 550,000 Mws of renewable energy per year in order to achieve the federal government's 2020 renewable energy goal. The GSA meets this annual requirement with the award of the 10-year power supply contract with MG2 Tribal Energy and its Walnut Creek wind farm.
Renewable energy and Native Americans

The Obama administration has been keen to promote and foster development and use of renewable energy resources by and for Native Americans. Commenting on GSA's awarding the 10-year power supply contract to MG2 Tribal Energy, Mesa Grande Band Chairman and MG2 President Mark Romero stated:

“The Mesa Grande Band is excited about our partnership with both Geronimo Energy and the GSA. This contract represents an important step forward in the history of the Mesa Grande Band because it is entirely consistent with our historic concern for Mother Earth and the continued availability of clean water, land, and air for future generations. Few other economic development opportunities enable us to remain so true to our cultural and spiritual values."

Added Geronimo Energy President Blake Nixon, “Geronimo is proud to develop economically viable renewable energy projects for customers, now including the federal government via this contract with the GSA. Our partnership in MG2 has been a mutually beneficial venture from the beginning, and by securing this PPA with the GSA, our partnership with the Mesa Grande has an exciting future.”

The wind power supply contract will also help the federal government achieve the renewable energy and GHG emissions reduction goals set out in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Orders 13423 and 13514. It could also help consumers across the PJM power grid – the largest electricity market in the world – meet their electricity needs, GSA points out. The PJM power grid spans all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Image credits: 1), 3) Geronimo Energy; 2) GSA; 3) Mesa Verde Band of Mission Indians

Andrew Burger headshotAndrew Burger

An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.

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