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President Obama has signed an executive order aimed at boosting investments in energy efficiency in the industrial sector. The order establishes a national goal of 40 GW of new combined heat and power (CHP) capacity by 2020, which could help save manufacturers up to $100 billion over the next 10 years, according to a White House press release.

The order says that the industrial sector makes up more than 30% of all energy consumed in the U.S., and increasing investments in energy-efficient CHP systems, which provide both thermal energy and electricity, at factories will significantly lower the industrial sector's energy costs.

However, the order notes the industrial sector currently suffers from vast under-investment in energy efficiency and CHP. In order to accelerate such investment, the order directs various government bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Agriculture, to coordinate efforts to develop and encourage related investment models and policies.

In addition, the order says the agencies must assist states and manufacturers with investment efforts and provide public information on energy efficiency and CHP.

The order dictates that agencies accomplish these initiatives by doing the following:
  • 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 SIPs, grants and loans;
  • employing output-based approaches as compliance options in power and industrial sector regulations, as appropriate, to recognize the emissions benefits of efficient energy generation technologies, such as 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% over 10 years, as well as utilizing existing partnership programs to support energy efficiency and CHP.








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