WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. President Barack Obama is taking aim at strengthening the American manufacturing sector by signing an executive order to facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency.
The White House says the plan could save manufacturers up to US$100 billion in energy costs over the next 10 years.
“Today we are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation. This action will cut costs, increase efficiency and help our businesses create strong, middle-class jobs,” Obama said. “We’ll continue to do everything we can to put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.”
The measures being introduced are designed to encourage investment in technologies like on-site heat and power generation, also known as, combined heat and power (CHP), to reduce energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Instead of burning fuel in an on site boiler to produce thermal energy and also purchasing electricity from the grid, a manufacturing facility can use a CHP system to provide both types of energy in one energy efficient step,” the executive order says.
The U.S. Departments of Energy, Commerce and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency in co-ordination with the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have been directed to take charge of actions at the Federal level and provide policy and technical assistance to the individual states to promote investments in energy efficiency.
Agencies are also required to hold regional workshops on best practices and investment models that eliminate barriers to investing in energy efficient technologies and provide information to the public about the benefit of investing in industrial energy efficiency.
The executive order also set a new goal of adding 40 gigawatts of heat and power capacity—a 50 per cent increase of current capacity—by 2020. The White House says this will reduce energy costs for users by US$10 billion, boost new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities by US$40 billion to US$80 billion, create new jobs and reduce emissions by the equivalent of what is produced by 25 million automobiles.