FEMP: U.S. Government’s Smart Energy Shopper

We all want to see the federal government “walk the walk” when it comes to energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. But, with so much attention on the federal deficit and spending; the pressure is on government agencies to save money any way they can. Fortunately, a variety of incentives are available to help federal agencies obtain funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and greenhouse gas (GHG) management projects.

Because incentives vary across jurisdictions; accessing the correct information can mean the difference between a stalled, unfunded project and a successful project that generates energy and cost savings for taxpayers. Identifying and helping federal agencies take advantage of these opportunities is the role of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).


image via DOE/NREL

Available funding opportunities fall into the following categories:

Performance Contracts: After conducting a comprehensive energy audit for a Federal facility; an energy service company (ESCO) will design, construct, and arrange funding for a project that meets the agency’s needs. The agency is guaranteed to achieve cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract, which can last up to 25 years. This type of partnership allows Federal agencies to implement energy projects with no initial capital investments, minimal net costs, and time and resource savings.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): A PPA allows a developer to install, own, operate and maintain a renewable energy system on agency property with no up-front cost. Over time, the agency pays for the system by purchasing the power it produces from the owner over the life of the contract.

Energy Incentive Programs: Many local utility companies offer energy incentive programs to help manage loads. These services are generally funded by utility rates, and are accessible through FEMP’s online database.

For more information on FEMP, visit www.femp.energy.gov

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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