US administration hosts GreenGov conference

1 Nov 2011

US President Barack Obama concludes remarks on the American Jobs Act at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina, 17 October 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the wake of October being Energy Action Month in the US, the US administration’s Council on Environmental Quality is hosting the GreenGov conference to identify new opportunities around greening the federal government. The symposium will cover clean energy, energy and water efficiency, fleet management, getting to zero waste, green buildings, and greening the supply chain.

The GreenGov2011 symposium started yesterday and will run until tomorrow, 2 November, in Washington, DC.

At the start of the conference yesterday, the Obama administration announced new features to, the open government platform for citizens and software developers to engage with energy- and environment-related data, apps, maps and challenges. 

On The White House Blog yesterday, Nick Sinai, senior adviser to the US chief technology officer, said the improvements include:

  • More than 100 new data sets to, including data on natural gas, coal, nuclear plants and energy efficiency
  • A new Apps tab, with a collection of smartphone and web applications
  • A new Maps tab, with a collection of static and interactive maps from multiple agencies, including the Departments of Energy and Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was back in 2009 that President Barack Obama challenged the federal government, the biggest energy consumer in the US economy, to become leaner, greener and more efficient. At the time, he signed Executive Order 13514 in which he directed federal agencies to meet aggressive energy, water and waste-reduction targets, reduce their greenhouse gas pollution, and leverage federal purchasing power to curb waste, save taxpayer dollars, and support the growth of a 21st-century clean energy economy. 

Keynote speakers at the 2011 GreenGov conference include Thomas Armstrong, director of national co-ordination, U.S. Global Change Research Program, White House Office of Science and Technology, and George Arnold, national co-ordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). From industry, keynotes include David Lear, executive director, Corporate Sustainability, Dell; and Cindy Drucker, director, Global Sustainability, SC Johnson.

Obama pressed ahead to make October Energy Action Month, as part of an effort to look at how the US economy can capitalise on clean-energy technologies to create new American jobs and industries.

As part of Energy Action Month, Obama also underscored the importance of investing in American innovation to lead the 21st-century global clean-energy economy.

Clean energy investments in US

In the space of two and a half years, the Obama administration has made the largest investments in clean energy in the history of the US.

And by the end of Obama’s first term in office, the US government is aiming to double renewable energy capacity.

“We have built the domestic advanced battery industry from scratch, jump starting the American manufacturing sector. We have established the toughest fuel economy standards for cars and trucks ever, saving consumers money at the pump and ensuring the vehicles of the future are built here in America. And we have taken the most aggressive steps in a generation to protect the health of American families by reducing harmful air pollution,” commented The White House yesterday.

Future of the US smart grid?

To create a more secure and efficient electrical grid, the administration recently announced the selection of seven proposed transmission lines as pilot projects for accelerated permitting. These pilot projects are expected to create more than 11,000 construction and operations jobs in 12 states across the country, said the White house yesterday.

Earlier this month, as part of the electric vehicle pilot programme, GSA delivered the first plug-in electric vehicle to the Department of the Navy. In 2010, GSA doubled the number of hybrids in the federal fleet.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic