Tag: energy efficiency

President Signs Energy Efficiency Legislation into Law

Manufacturers use almost 30 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S., and in many instances it is our single largest expenditure. To continue to be competitive in a global economy we need to be more energy efficient. Yesterday the President signed into law S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, from Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The bill will loosen efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters, increase efficiency in government data centers and promote efficiency in commercial, residential and federal government–owned buildings. Previously in the 114th Congress, a version of the legislation, S. 128, was adopted as an amendment to a separate bill (S. 1, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline) but was vetoed by the president on February 24. The House passed a similar energy efficiency bill, H.R. 2126, in the 113th Congress by a vote of 375-36, but the Senate never acted on that measure.

The new law will establish a program called “Tenant Star” that will certify and recognize commercial building tenants for achieving high levels of energy efficiency, as well as require the General Services Administration to develop model commercial leasing provisions to encourage commercial building owners and tenants to invest in cost-effective energy and water efficiency measures. Energy efficiency and conservation offer immediate and cost-effective opportunities to reduce energy cost inputs both in the public and private sectors. Today’s commercial, public and residential buildings use almost 40 percent of the energy consumed in this country. The NAM has long supported this bi-partisan effort to strengthen the public/private partnership to support a more energy-efficient economy, while driving economic growth and private sector job creation. While this is a great first step for energy efficiency in this Congress, we hope it will not be the last.

Manufacturers are leading the way in the area of energy efficiency. Our facilities, shop floors, production, and transportation systems much more efficient than they were 10 or 20 years ago. And many of the products we make enable other sectors such as industrial, commercial, government, residential and retail to be more energy efficient as well through the use of advanced technologies and innovations pioneered by manufacturers and their supply chain. Everyone agrees that we need to be smarter about the way we use our energy resources. And manufacturers are pleased to see this Congress not allow politics to get in the way of sound energy efficiency policy.

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Energy Efficiency Legislation Finally Heads to President’s Desk

This afternoon the House voice voted to approve S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, and will send the measure to the President’s desk. The bill, which the Senate passed by voice vote in March, would loosen efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters, increase efficiency in government data centers and promote efficiency in commercial, residential and federal government–owned buildings. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), have introduced various iterations over the last several years. Previously in the 114th Congress a version of the legislation, S. 128, was adopted as an amendment to a separate bill (S. 1, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline) but was vetoed by the president on Feb. 24. The House passed a similar efficiency bill, H.R. 2126 in the 113th Congress, by a vote of 375-36 in March of 2014, but the Senate never acted on that measure. (continue reading…)

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Administration’s Climate Plan to UN a Reminder of What’s at Stake for Manufacturers

The Administration’s submission of its Climate Change Plan to the United Nations today is a reminder of the complex nature of global greenhouse gas (GHG) politics, economics and realities, and what is at stake for the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Manufacturers want a strong international agreement that includes binding commitments from all major emitting nations.

First, as is graphically represented on Page One of the Plan, the United States is already leading the world in reducing GHG emissions. Since 2005, no country has reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than the United States—nearly 700 million tons of C02 or a reduction of close to 12 percent. U.S. manufacturers are leading the way, producing more efficient and lower emitting cars, trucks and machines; creating new and innovative products to increase the energy efficiency of houses, buildings and factors; and unlocking new technologies to generate more power with fewer emissions. Since 2005, carbon emissions from manufacturers and other industrial facilities have fallen by more than 10 percent. This progress will continue, as manufacturers are driven by a commitment to environmental sustainability and recognition that reducing emissions is good for the bottom line—more efficient factories have fewer emissions and lower costs.  (continue reading…)

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Reintroduced Energy Efficiency Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced their energy efficiency legislation Wednesday, joined by 11 bipartisan co-sponsors. The NAM has strongly supported this legislation in its previous versions, and will continue to push for passage of this common sense, bipartisan energy efficiency measure that would create jobs by saving energy in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015 is similar to last year’s version, and sponsors say it will create 190,000 jobs, save $16.2 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 22 million cars. The bill helps to strength national building codes, establishes a Tenant Star program that encourages commercial tenants to be more energy efficient, establishes the Supply Star pilot program to encourage the manufacturing supply chain to become more energy efficient, encourages the federal government to be more energy efficient as they purchase new technology, and requires the federal government to better measure energy performance. (continue reading…)

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New Report Shows Energy-Efficiency Legislation Would Be Major Job-Creator

According to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, legislation drafted by Senators Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen would support 174,000 jobs by 2030.

The report also found that the energy-efficiency legislation could save consumers and businesses over $65 billion on their energy bills by 2030.

As users of one-third of our nation’s energy, manufacturers are directly affected by the cost of energy, and we believe policies should promote research, development, and deployment of energy-efficient technologies.

Manufacturers support the Shaheen-Portman bill, a set of common sense, bipartisan energy efficiency measures that would create jobs by saving energy in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

 

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Manufacturers Ask the Executive Branch to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Today the NAM, several member companies and a number of other organizations sent President Obama a letter expressing our strong support for the continuation of the administration’s effort to reduce the federal government’s energy consumption. The federal government is the largest single user of energy in this country and many federal buildings are in need of upgrades and improvements.

In 2011 the President issued a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to use $2 billion of private sector financing and expertise to upgrade federal buildings. Under this directive federal managers could utilize energy savings performance contracts (ESPC) and utility energy service contracts (UESC) to purchase energy efficiency upgrades by using gains from energy savings. ESPC and UESC pose no risk to the federal agency because the results are guaranteed and the contractors assume the risks.

To use a military term , the federal government is a “target rich” environment for these upgrades. A number of energy audits have been completed by federal agencies and to date more than $9 billion in addressable energy efficiency measures have been identified, and no doubt there are still more that will be identified in the coming years. We would like the President to again challenge the Executive Branch to identify and contract for $1 billion each year for the next five years in energy saving projects using performance-based contracting. The letter also request that the Executive Branch identify and develop a “best practices” program so that individual agencies can share their successes and their challenges.

We think this makes a lot of sense. This effort will keep the momentum going in the agencies, it will allow the federal government to improve and modernize infrastructure, and it will enhance energy security. All this and it will be done by using energy savings and not with appropriated tax payer dollars.

Manufactures have been leaders in energy efficiency both in the manufacturing of equipment and the utilization of equipment. We understand that a kilowatt saved is a dollar saved. Lowering our energy consumption not only allow us to better utilize our financial resources and but in many instances it helps us to be more productive using less energy. These savings impact the bottom line and help manufacturers to be more competitive in the global economy. Being energy efficient is simply smart!

Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

 

 

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Energy Efficiency Bill Sails Through Senate Committee

Early this afternoon the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed S. 761, “The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act,” more commonly known as the Shaheen-Portman  bill after its two authors, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The 22-member Committee passed the bill on a strong voice vote with only three Senators castings votes in opposition.

The only amendment that was offered (and agreed to) was a manager’s amendment from Sen. Portman. The bill’s sponsors received unified praise from Senators during the markup for their bipartisan efforts and their work to promoting energy efficiency. Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested that Senators hold their amendments until the legislation reached the floor of the Senate.

The Committee went on to discuss a number of possible amendments and issues that might be addressed on the floor. It was clear that there was great interest in expanding the scope of this legislation, with a number of Senators discussing the issues they would like addressed.  This is obviously a bit of a Pandora ’s Box but at least Senators are talking about floor action on energy, which hasn’t happened in a long time.

Manufacturers continue to urge Senator Reid to bring this bill to the floor as soon as possible. Energy efficiency is vital to manufacturers’ ability to compete, and this bill should be a no-brainer given its potential for job creation and energy savings. And it is a great way to start bridging some of the divides that have too long prevented the Senate from having a constructive legislative debate on energy policy.

Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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Energy Efficiency is Vital to Manufacturers and Our Energy Future

Today Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-OH) hosted a press conference with industry leaders, including NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, to roll out The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as S.1000. This legislation’s goal is to help spur the use of energy efficiency technologies for commercial, industrial and residential use. This will help create jobs and lower costs for manufacturers.

In a town where there are few issues where we can find agreement on important issues, energy efficiency is an area where we can all find common ground. According to Senator Portman, “This is about getting something done.”

The bill is headed for a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next week which is great news.

Energy efficiency is paramount to the competitiveness of manufacturers and our energy future. It is a solution to help lower costs for businesses of all sizes. In addition, the innovation and development of energy efficient technologies creates manufacturing jobs.

Manufacturers are already taking steps to improve energy efficiency. The Volvo Group has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants Program. The company has pledged to reduce its energy intensity in all of its U.S. manufacturing plants by 25 percent during a 10-year period. The Volvo Group’s New River Valley truck plant in Dublin, VA has already achieved a major milestone by reducing its energy intensity by nearly 30 percent in just one year. (continue reading…)

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Small Energy Efficiency Package Nearing the Finish Line

Today around 1:00 pm, the House is due to consider H.R. 6582, the “American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act.”  H.R. 6582 corrects existing energy laws to ensure that innovations and alternative technologies that meet or exceed federal energy efficiency standards are not deterred by those laws.  Products covered by the bill include water heaters, commercial refrigerators, and some HVAC units. Companion legislation to H.R. 6582 was passed by the Senate in September.

Heading into the 112th Congress, many in Washington (including myself) saw energy efficiency as an area where lawmakers from both parties could potentially agree on legislation.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  Election-year politics stopped S. 1000, the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill, from coming to the Senate floor.  And while the NAM is still committed to getting comprehensive energy efficiency legislation like S. 1000 passed, we also support anything that gets portions of this legislation–such as H.R. 6582–to the President’s desk for his signature.

In a year that has been frustrating to say the least when it comes to energy policy, we’ll take any kind of bipartisan agreement we can get. We’re pleased to see the House considering legislation that helps manufacturers innovate in the area of energy efficiency.

Ross Eisenberg is vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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Jobs and Energy Go Hand in Hand

The NAM and Politico teamed up at the conventions to host events focusing on “Growing the Economy.” You can read about the RNC event here and yesterday’s DNC event here.

Politico has hosted a number of other discussions, one of which caught my eye today.  The subject was energy policy. A replay of the event is available here.

A discussion of energy policy could just as well have been held at our events on jobs and the economy.  After all, a strong, pro-growth energy policy can help create jobs, particularly in manufacturing, which is energy intensive, using one-third of the U.S. energy supply.

While members of both parties talk about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the United States has yet to adopt anything of the sort.  We have abundant resources at our disposal, but many remain off limits, whether through the inaction of Congress or the overzealousness of regulators, to name just two reasons.

An all-of-the-above energy strategy means just what it says.  It means using traditional sources of energy like coal and oil.  But, the Environmental Protection Agency through its Utility MACT and Cross-State Air Pollution rules is looking to drive coal-fired power plants out of business.  As for oil, permitting delays and other regulatory obstacles continue to thwart new exploration and development offshore.

An all-of-the-above strategy also embraces new opportunities such as those presented by the shale gas boom.

And alternative sources have a role to play too. Nuclear needs to be part of our energy mix—it’s a form of clean energy we have yet to utilize fully. Long-term development of this vital energy source has unfortunately fallen victim to political battles. And, there have been many new and exciting innovations with renewable sources of energy like wind and solar that have helped expand the use of these important resources.

Our nation’s energy policy can’t single out one of these sources.  We must embrace them all, especially if we want to grow manufacturing and remain competitive. Reliable and abundant energy will bring investment to our shores—and with it, jobs. And it will encourage manufacturers in the United States to expand their operations and hire more workers.

As we develop additional sources of energy, manufacturers will be able to grow their capabilities. Manufacturers are doing more with less because they are harnessing new technologies and becoming more energy efficient. Earlier this week, I had the chance to speak with manufacturers about their efforts to develop new and innovative systems that lower energy costs by making manufacturing facilities more efficient. NAM member Ingersoll Rand and its CEO Mike Lamach hosted an event with Senator Amy Klobuchar and Gen. Wesley Clark to discuss the issue and its role in a comprehensive energy policy.

A strong energy policy is a strong jobs policy.  That’s something for the men and women we put into office this November to think about.

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