How industrial energy efficiency could boost US manufacturing

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Writing for the Breaking Energy website, Jennifer Keeper – executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency – explained how energy efficiency is the "secret weapon" that could cut carbon emissions while at the same time, making American manufacturing more competitive.
 
As Keeper explains, President Trump has pledged to strengthen American companies and the national manufacturing sector. However, his recently signed executive order – 'Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth' – will roll back the Clean Power Plan, increasing energy consumption and emissions.
 
There is something that can promote economic growth while cutting carbon emissions: energy efficiency. In fact, it is crucial to making American manufacturing more competitive, by cutting costs and carbon emissions.
Energy efficiency already supports 2.2 million jobs in the US, in every single state, Keeper notes. And the opportunity for savings is great – the industrial sector accounts for 32% of total US energy consumption, with manufacturing accounting for 24% of that total.
 
According to a report by the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, industrial efficiency could reduce annual carbon emissions by 175 million tons in 2030 – the equivalent of 46 coal-fired power plants. Not only that, but businesses would save $298 billion from avoided electricity purchases.
 
Another report, by the US Department of Energy (DOE), found that efficiency improvements could reduce energy use by 15-32% by 2025, which would take a good chunk out of the industry's $200 billion annual energy bill.
 
To date, 190 companies – from single-facility operations to Fortune 100 firms with annual energy spend of hundreds of millions of dollars – have signed onto DOE's 'Better Buildings, Better Plants Program and Challenge'. They have committed to reducing their facilities' energy use by 25% over 10 years; as of 2016, cumulative cost savings had reached $3.1 billion.
 
However, three key barriers to industrial efficiency remain in the US: internal competition for capital; internal information barriers; and a business model for electric utilities that fails to reward customer efficiency.
 
In order to overcome these, Keeper suggests that policymakers adopt new, efficiency-focused incentives for American manufacturers, and that all companies sign up to the DOE's programme. Meanwhile, states must continue to promote industrial energy efficiency of their own accord.
 
To learn how AVReporter Energy Management Software could contribute towards industrial energy efficiency targets, read our article by clicking here.
 
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