Fossil Fuel Elimination Rule

In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was passed.  Section 433 of that legislation wouldeliminate all fossil fuel-generated energy from federal buildings by the year 2030. This ban would apply to all new or renovated Federal buildings.  The law does not allow for the direct use of natural gas, combined heat and power (CHP), or distributed generation and eliminates all fossil fuel-generated electricity regardless of emissions.  The fossil-fuel reduction would start at 55% by 2010 and would increase to 65% by 2015, 80% by 2020, 90% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

DOE published a Draft Rule in the Federal Register in October 2010; however, a final rule is on hold because there is no path to compliance after the first few years.

APGA has met with environmental and efficiency advocacy groups to work out a legislative fix. Currently, there is bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate to replace section 433 with a fuel-neutral energy efficiency provision that would achieve real energy efficiency gains in federal buildings.

APGA Position:  Congress should substantially modify or eliminate the ban on fossil fuel generated energy in EISA 2007 section 433.

  • The ban restricts adoption of high-efficiency technologies such as CHP. DOE, in its proposed rule, acknowledged the challenge of simultaneously using energy efficient CHP and waste heat recovery technology while complying with the mandated reduction in fossil fuel-generated energy.
  • The ban ultimately works against energy efficiency in federal buildings. Under the legislation, a very inefficient federal building may be built or renovated in an inefficient manner as long as it draws its energy from non-fossil fuel sources.
  • The threshold amount for renovations is very low and would mean almost all renovations to federal buildings would trigger mandatory compliance, resulting in many agencies not undertaking retrofits at all. 
  • The ban runs counter to the Administration’s positions.   President Obama has included the use of natural gas as part of an “all of the above” national energy strategy. The Administration has stressed the need for development of “every available source,” has created a work group to focus on the development of domestic natural gas resources, and has called for a 20% increase in the deployment of CHP technologies.