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U.S. Government Must Use More Renewable Energy, Obama Says

President Obama is ordering federal agencies to use more renewable energy, in a memorandum issued Thursday. Under the new plan, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.

"The new target would almost triple the amount of electricity the government now gets from renewable sources," NPR's Scott Horsley reports. "President Obama says in order to safeguard the environment and combat climate change, the government must lead by example."

Federal agencies face several milestones along the way to achieving that goal, according to the White House memo. Here are the amounts of renewable energy they're required to use in the years leading up to 2020:

  • 2015: At least 10 percent
  • 2016, 2017: At least 15 percent
  • 2018, 2019: At least 17.5 percent

Agencies should install sources of renewable energy on federal sites, or arrange to purchase "green" power, the Obama administration says. The memo also directs federal agencies to increase energy efficiency in its buildings and its power management systems.

Several potential exemptions are outlined in the memo, including a passage that allows the director of national intelligence to exempt activities in order to protect intelligence sources. Other exemptions cite possible concerns over national security and classified information.

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