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Delaware: 30% renewable energy by 2013

The state of Delaware must evaluate the feasibility of installing renewable enegy such as on-site wind or solar systems with a simple payback period of under 20 years.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed Executive Order 18, which calls on all state departments and agencies to reduce energy use by 10% by mid-2011 (compared with mid-2008 levels), with reductions rising to 30% by 2015. The order includes accelerated government recycling and wider use of environmentally friendly products, in an effort to protect and create jobs and support new and emerging industries.

The order explains: “State Government must lead by example as it works towards transforming Delaware into a national model clean energy economy built on economic growth, environmental protection, energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner transportation options, and sustainable buildings and operations.”

Energy data for the past two years must be compiled for all state-owned and state-leased facilities, which will be used to prioritise renewable energy projects based on energy savings, cost savings and environmental benefit.

Data will be used to evaluate the feasibility of installing on-site wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), co-generation or other cleaner and renewable energy systems “that can be implemented using a simple payback period not to exceed 20 years.”

30% renewable energy by 2013

Larger state facilities must implement “all reasonably-available efficiency upgrades ... before or coincident with investment in renewable energy technologies.” The state shall target at least 20% of its overall annual electric energy demand from renewable sources by the end of fiscal year 2012, and 30% of overall electricity demand from renewables by the end of FY 2013.

Procurement strategies will be used to maximise renewable energy purchases and minimise costs over the long term to achieve the targets within the limits of appropriations, and the state will maximise stabilization of energy costs through use of offshore wind energy as the resource is being developed.

Assessing renewable energy sites

All state executive branch agencies, departments and offices are “further directed to maximise the use of local distributed renewable energy generation or other clean energy solutions at state facilities in helping to achieve the targets.”

Agencies will work to assess facilities and appropriate public lands for potential distributed generation sites and evaluate a wide-range of funding sources and mechanisms that maximise the state’s return on investment.

Energy efficiency

”Thermostat controls must be lowered to 70ºF for heating offices and 60ºF for building entrances and storage areas, dropping to 55ºF when facilities that not occupied. Cooling will be kept at 78ºF during working hours and “no less than is required to maintain the integrity and operation of the system” during non-working periods.

Agencies can exempt specific facilities from the restrictions if temperatures threaten life, health or safety but “conservation measures shall be applied wherever systems permit.”

The order will eliminate the use of portable appliances unless approved by a Cabinet Secretary and all personal computers must enable power management tools. It requires two-sided printing and formatting documents to reduce the number of printed pages, among other measures.

Delaware state spending

Delaware spends US$35 million a year on electricity and heating for government buildings, and US$13m to fuel its vehicles. The order has the “potential to reduce GHG emissions from state Government operations and demonstrate that the adoption of responsible policies to minimize our impact on the environment can simultaneously reduce operating expenses and create a more efficient Government.

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Energy efficiency  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power