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August 30, 2012

White House Advocates Rapid Adoption of CHP to Energize American Industry



Noting that the industrial sector consumes over 30 percent of all energy nationwide, U.S. President Barack Obama released an Executive Order on August 30 calling for his Administration to “coordinate and strongly encourage” more efficient manufacturing processes and facilities— with emphasis on the expanded use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

Specifically, the President is setting “a national goal of deploying 40 gigawatts (GW) of new, cost-effective industrial CHP in the United States by the end of 2020.”

In manufacturing, Obama said, “Energy costs affect overall competitiveness.” While he acknowledged that many businesses have tried to cut overhead by enhancing energy efficiency over the past few decades, today, the President said, “there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand these efforts.”


Image via White House

For example, 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. Hastening these investments, said Obama, “Can improve the competitiveness of United States manufacturing, lower energy costs, free up future capital for businesses to invest, reduce air pollution, and create jobs.”

To accomplish these objectives, the POTUS has instructed 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, to coordinate policies to encourage investment in industrial efficiency.

But they cannot do it alone. “The Federal Government has limited, but important authorities, to overcome [existing] barriers, and our efforts to support investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP should involve coordinated engagement with a broad set of stakeholders [in a series of public workshops that encourage best practices]—including States, manufacturers, utilities, and others,” said Obama, adding, “By working with all stakeholders to address these barriers, we have an opportunity to save industrial users tens of billions of dollars in energy costs over the next decade.”

He does not advocate a one-size- fits-all solution. Instead, the President said, “It is imperative that we support these investments through a variety of approaches, including encouraging private sector investment by setting goals and highlighting the benefits of investment, improving coordination at the Federal level, partnering with and supporting States, and identifying investment models beneficial to the multiple stakeholders involved.”

Finally, President Obama instructed the Federal agencies that will be involved in the initiative to consult with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as appropriate.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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