Obama issues Executive Order to accelerate investment in industrial energy efficiency

We can’t wait…

President Obama is smart enough to know that we can dramatically lower our dependence on foreign fossil fuels through energy efficiency and conservation. Yesterday, he signed an Executive Order intended to further that process by accelerating investments in industrial energy efficiency.

“Today, we are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,” said President Obama. “This action will cut costs, increase efficiency, and help our businesses create strong, middle class jobs. We’ll continue to do everything we can to put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.”

From the White House press release:

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order to facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency that will strengthen American manufacturing and help create jobs. These efforts to boost industrial energy efficiency, including combined heat and power systems, can save manufacturers as much as $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade, improving their bottom lines and strengthening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. These types of efficiency measures will reduce energy consumption and reduce harmful emissions. {…}

Today’s Order also establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new combined heat and power capacity by 2020, a 50% increase from today. Meeting this goal would save energy users $10 billion per year, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities that would create American jobs, and would reduce emissions equivalent to 25 million cars.

This is a smart initiative, one that will take our country FORWARD. It’s in sharp contrast to the Republicans’ “drill, baby, drill” mantra.

Here’s the relevant bit from the Executive Order (read the entire thing HERE [pdf]):

The Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall coordinate policies to encourage investment in industrial efficiency in order to reduce costs for industrial users, improve U.S. competitiveness, create jobs, and reduce harmful air pollution. In doing so, they shall engage States, industrial companies, utility companies, and other stakeholders to accelerate this investment. Specifically, these agencies shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law:

(a) coordinate and strongly encourage efforts to achieve a national goal of deploying 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective industrial CHP [combined heat and power] 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:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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
  • 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:

  • 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;
  • improving the usefulness of Federal data collection and analysis; and
  • assisting States in developing and implementing State-specific best practice policies that can accelerate investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP.

In implementing this section, these agencies should consult with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as appropriate.

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