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Manufacturing Spotlight: Boosting American Competitiveness

January 6, 2014 - 1:06pm

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Advancing the nation’s clean energy manufacturing industry helps to capture the value of U.S. innovation in clean energy technologies,  fosters further innovation right here in America, and makes U.S. manufacturers more competitive by reducing their energy costs – all while creating jobs and building a more sustainable planet for future generations.

Industry and government are working together to expand American leadership in this sector by bringing new clean energy technologies to the marketplace and making manufacturing processes more energy efficient.

In the video above, key industry leaders including Bank of America Chairman of the Board and former DuPont CEO Chad Holliday, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation President Robert Atkinson, and Siemens USA CEO Eric Spiegel, explain how private and public partnerships are critical to addressing the nation’s energy challenges and expanding our clean energy economy.

For instance, the annual capacity additions of wind energy in the United States increased more than fivefold from 2006 to 2012 (annual U.S. installed capacity increased from about 2.3 GW in 2006 to 13 GW in 2012) with the amount of American-made equipment such as towers, blades and gears in these installations roughly doubling. This growth was spurred in part by government and industry supported research to improve the cost and performance of wind power technology, and continued state and federal incentives such as the production tax credit, which provided stability to the marketplace.

Additional incentives including the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program (48C Program), which was recently awarded to new recipients, have helped to expand U.S. clean energy manufacturing.

Energy efficiency technical assistance and voluntary challenge programs have also helped to spur manufacturers of all kinds to be more competitive by reducing their energy costs.  The Energy Department’s Better Plants Program and Challenge invites corporations to reduce their energy intensity in their manufacturing operations by 25% over 10 years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector.  To date, participating companies representing nearly 8% of the total U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and more than 1,750 plants across the United States have saved about $1 billion in energy costs and approximately 190 trillion British thermal units (equivalent to about 11 million metric tons) of carbon emissions.

Increasing American competitiveness related to the production of clean energy technologies is a key goal of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, which also aims to boost energy productivity in manufacturing plants throughout the country.  For clean energy manufacturing tools, data, and other resources, visit energy.gov/CEMI.

EERE has also established the American Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership with the Council on Competitiveness, which brings together public and private sector leaders to address manufacturing and competitiveness challenges in the rapidly-changing global energy landscape. Visit Compete.org to learn more about the partnership and the council’s work. 

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