Senators introduce industrial revitalization bill
A bipartisan group of eight senators have introduced a bill aimed at renewing America’s industrial sector by using less energy, reducing carbon emissions and producing the technologies that will help the U.S. (and world) reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. It would increase productivity, energy efficiency, and create jobs, proponents say.
S.661, the “Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency Act of 2009,” is sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mark Pryor (D-AR). The bill will be considered as part of the comprehensive energy legislation that the Senate Energy Committee expects to start marking up in early April.
This bill is said to take critical first steps in revitalizing our nation’s manufacturing base by increasing our industry’s energy productivity by:
Establishing financing mechanisms for both small and large manufacturers to adopt advanced energy efficient production technologies and processes which will allow them to be more productive and less fuel dependent, cutting costs, not jobs.
Spurring innovation in our manufacturing sector to decrease energy intensity and environmental impacts while increasing productivity. The bill establishes industry-led partnerships to develop industry-specific roadmaps to identify the breakthrough technologies necessary to reduce energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions. It also stimulates, through competitive grants to industry and small businesses, the development, deployment and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technologies and processes.
Expanding the number and expertise of the Industrial Research and Assessment Centers to better meet the needs of small and medium manufacturers. The bill also provides for workforce training through paid internships at the centers for students to work with industries and manufacturers to implement energy efficiency technologies.
In addition, the legislation can create millions of new American jobs by supporting the domestic production of advanced energy technologies to fuel the growth of renewables and efficiency and capture the clean energy market. By providing financing mechanisms for manufacturers to implement cost-competitive, energy efficient equipment and processes and to develop and deploy the innovative technologies that will be a critical element in accomplishing President Obama’s goals of overcoming the current economic, energy and climate crises.
“This bill will provide much needed financing for manufacturers to adopt advanced energy technologies,” says Sen. Collins. “These investments will save companies on their energy bills for years to come, making them more competitive while also contributing to American energy independence. It also would expand the successful Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) at the Department of Energy . Over its lifetime, this program has helped improve 13,000 U.S. manufacturing plants resulting in approximately $23 billion of energy savings. In the future, ITP estimates that for the pulp and paper industry alone about 57% savings in drying and 27% savings in pulping operations could be achieved. “