President Obama's Commitment to Energy Efficiency

Fri, 2012-09-07 08:45

As the Democratic National Convention winds down, talk about alternative energy solutions and energy efficiency standards continues to move forward for President Obama. Last night, during his convention speech, President Obama outlined his alternative energy policies, which align with the commitments he made during his State of the Union Address. While the national focus has been on the convention this week, an important step to energy efficiency standards was signed by President Obama late last week, which will significantly improve the U.S. industrial sector.

President ObamaAccording to the White House, the industrial sector accounts for over 30 percent of all energy consumption in the United States, with numerous manufacturers facing high energy costs that affect business operations and competitiveness in the global market. To alleviate this problem, President Obama signed an Executive Order last week, titled, “Accelerating Investments in Industrial Energy Efficiency,” which will provide incentives for the industrial sector to become more energy-efficient. Although manufacturing industries have progressively become more energy-efficient in the last few decades, expanded investments to reduce energy consumption through more efficient manufacturing processes and a more dedicated use of combined heat and power (CHP), will significantly improve energy efficiency. Overall, investments in efficient U.S. manufacturing will significantly improve competitiveness in the global market, lower energy costs, reduce air pollution, free up future capital for businesses to invest, and create jobs.

To coordinate policies that encourage investments in industrial efficiency, several federal departments and councils will work together, including the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Economic Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Moreover, they will work to engage States, industrial companies, utility companies, and other stakeholders to further accelerate energy-efficient investments. According to the Executive Order, the agencies shall:

(a) Coordinate and strongly encourage efforts to achieve a national goal of deploying 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective industrial CHP in the United States by the end of 2020;

(b) Convene stakeholders, through a series of public workshops, to develop and encourage the use of best practice State policies and investment models that address the multiple barriers to investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP;

(c) Utilize their respective relevant authorities and resources to encourage investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP, such as by:

  • (i) Providing assistance to States on accounting for the potential emission reduction benefits of CHP and other energy efficiency policies when developing State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to achieve national ambient air quality standards;
  • (ii) Providing incentives for the deployment of CHP and other types of clean energy, such as set asides under emissions allowance trading program state implementation plans, grants, and loans;
  • (iii) Employing output-based approaches as compliance options in power and industrial sector regulations, as appropriate, to recognize the emissions benefits of highly efficient energy generation technologies like CHP; and
  • (iv) Seeking to expand participation in, and create additional tools to support, the Better Buildings, Better Plants program at the Department of Energy, which is working with companies to help them achieve a goal of reducing energy intensity by 25 percent over 10 years, as well as utilizing existing partnership programs to support energy efficiency and CHP;

(d) Support and encourage efforts to accelerate investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP by:

  • (i) Providing general guidance, technical analysis and information, and financial analysis on the value of investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP to States, utilities, and owners and operators of industrial facilities;
  • (ii) Improving the usefulness of Federal data collection and analysis; and
  • (iii) Assisting States in developing and implementing State-specific best practice policies that can accelerate investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP.

Overall, the Executive Order will significantly impact the industrial sector for the better, allowing for stronger manufacturing procedures, lower energy costs, and higher product yields. As energy-efficient policies continue to expand, consumers, businesses, and the government will benefit from both energy and cost savings.

At Everblue, energy efficiency is an important component of our training, which involves BPI, RESNET, NATE, Professional Energy Manager, and ENERGY STAR certification training. We strive to develop training programs that allow individuals and businesses to understand energy efficient principles while simultaneously preparing them for industry certifications to enact change in the community. For more information, please visit one of our energy efficiency programs or call us at 800-460-2575.

By Peter J. Bock

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