On Aug. 30, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which details a program to accelerate the implementation of alternative energy (green energy) and other power sources in industrial infrastructure. The new Order will allow current Federal agencies to coordinate with states and private companies in streamlining alternative solutions for current hydrocarbon fuel processes.
The industrial sector accounts for over 30 percent of all energy consumed in the United States, and, for many manufacturers, energy costs affect overall competitiveness. While our manufacturing facilities have made progress in becoming more energy efficient over the past several decades, there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand these efforts with investments to reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing processes and facilities and the expanded use of combined heat and power (CHP). 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. Accelerating these investments in our Nation’s factories 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 formalize and support the close interagency coordination that is required to accelerate greater investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP, this order directs certain executive departments and agencies to convene national and regional stakeholders to identify, develop, and encourage the adoption of investment models and State best practice policies for industrial energy efficiency and CHP; provide technical assistance to States and manufacturers to encourage investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP; provide public information on the benefits of investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP; and use existing Federal authorities, programs, and policies to support investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP.
(a) coordinate and strongly encourage efforts to achieve a national goal of deploying 40 gigawatts of new, cost effective industrial CHP in the United States by the end of 2020; – Whitehouse.gov
Cheap hydrocarbon energy has been the lifeblood of America’s economic success since the industrial revolution, and can be seen today in countries like China which use coal and other energy resources to fuel production and industry. Integrating alternative energy sources to replace the efficiency of oil and other hydrocarbons would require technology that is currently not available, nor is currently cost efficient for industrial transition.
President Obama’s track record on green and alternative energy policies during his term in office has been dismal. Four major solar companies, through which taxpayer money has helped subsidize, have gone bankrupt, and this does not include more than $50 billion that has been invested in the takeover of General Motors by the Federal government. Since the nationalization of GM, government inefficiency in running the corporation has led to failed investments in cars such as the Chevrolet Volt, which has just been shelved due to low sales and failures in promised capabilities.
Investment in alternative energy in the U.S. has proven beneficial when done by private industry, and without interference from government bureaucracies. An example of this can be found in a recent breakthrough by a California University, which has discovered a new method for creating solar cell technology through the use of copper oxide, rather than silicon. While the potential value of this new technology in residential and industrial use is still years away, it proves once again that private industry innovation, supplied primarily with corporate or private funding, is much more efficient and cost effective than programs engineered through government spending and policies.
Alternative or green energy has been a huge focus for President Obama during his first term in office, but his track record of success through its implementation and investment using taxpayer money has been minimal. This new Executive Order, seeking to impose and help streamline industrial transition from current hydrocarbon energy sources to more efficient CHP ones through the implementation of government programs, processes, and bureaucracies, does not bode well for the actual integration of tomorrow’s energy infrastructure in American industry.