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The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) recently held a signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building for the first 32 companies to publicly commit to the Save Energy Now LEADER initiative and voluntarily pledge to reduce their industrial energy intensity by 25 percent over the next 10 years. These companies joined DOE in a partnership that will provide them with technical assistance and resources to make significant improvements in industrial energy efficiency and lead America toward a more secure and sustainable clean-energy future. Following in their footsteps, another dozen companies have come on board since the event, totaling 44 LEADER companies as of publication.
Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi was the featured speaker at the signing ceremony and commended these companies on their commitment. She highlighted that the U.S. industrial sector accounts for more than18 million workers, as well as 30 percent of the energy used nationwide and 27 percent of the country's carbon emissions. The 32 Save Energy Now LEADER companies who signed the pledge represent 1.2 million of these workers – emphasizing the significance of these companies' commitments to energy efficiency by not only generating energy and carbon savings, but also by serving as an inspirational example of how the country can tackle some of its most challenging energy and environmental issues while increasing our economy's competitiveness.
After the signing ceremony, a reception was hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy, Dow, PPG and Schneider Electric. All of the companies in attendance expressed their enthusiasm in being among the first forward-thinking energy champions, as well as their willingness to each be a LEADER in every sense of the word. Companies specializing in information technology, pharmaceuticals, and paper and materials were among those signing the Save Energy Now LEADER pledge. AT&T's newly appointed director of energy, John Schinter, said the company will target data centers, the large rooms of computers that hum with fans trying to keep them cool. He also stated the company would use its own technology to add "smart meters" to its buildings, allowing it to measure usage.
The Save Energy Now LEADER pledge is part of DOE's larger effort to boost efficiency in the industrial sector and serve as a vehicle to reinforce energy efficiency as a profitable business model. The LEADER program is a new component of the existing Save Energy Now initiative through which companies partner with DOE to identify opportunities for energy savings in the companies' operations by conducting energy audits and assessments. Participating businesses also have access to tools and training to implement recommendations designed to help reduce their energy use and operating costs. Over 2,000 plants received energy assessments between 2006 and 2009 through the Save Energy Now program; these assessments have identified $1.3 billion in cost-saving opportunities, 119 trillion British thermal units of natural gas savings, and 11.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) savings. The 32 LEADER companies signing the pledge at the event displayed their commitment to the 25-percent energy-intensity reduction goal and raised the bar for all industrial facilities while benefitting from their own bottom line.
By committing to the program, Save Energy Now LEADER companies receive help in overcoming some of the biggest hurdles their businesses face when it comes to driving energy efficiency – a shortage of time, resources, and in-house expertise. Save Energy Now LEADER companies receive priority access to tailored technical and financial resources, along with energy-management expertise. ITP's energy assessments and technical assistance activities are provided by experienced integrated contractors from national laboratories, industry associations, academia, and the private sector. Specific services provided by these industrial efficiency experts range from efficiency baselining to project implementation, industry benchmark comparisons, access to third-party financial resources, savings measurement and verification, and plant and financial feasibility assessments.
The DOE understands that industries and companies are not all the same and, accordingly, the Pledge allows participants the flexibility to adopt methods for measuring and tracking energy-intensity data that will reflect their specific requirements and unique business operations. In turn, ITP agrees to provide access to all federal- and state-level program information, contacts, and products related to energy efficiency, carbon and greenhouse gas reduction, and industrial competitiveness. ITP also offers technical and financial assistance, as well as national recognition for companies that achieve exemplary energy-management performance.
As DOE pushes for long-term solutions, part of the goal is to also promote the idea of "energy management" – meaning designating an energy leader or energy manager to regularly monitor energy use and execute future plans. The LEADER companies signing the pledge are asked to come up with an energy plan and designate this energy ambassador within a year, as well as provide their emissions annually to the department. As indicated by the LEADER title, those who took the Pledge at the signing ceremony are more than just first actors on the path of making a great leap in energy efficiency; they are establishing themselves as role models and pace setters for others in the industrial sector.
Interested companies can find more information at the Save Energy Now LEADER Web site, http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/leader.html, or can e-mail the program at SaveEnergyNow@ee.doe.gov.
Save Energy NowALLY is a push to build a national network of partners to help LEADER companies and other manufacturers improve industrial energy efficiency by delivering resources to help meet their ambitious energy goals. LEADER companies prepare an energy-use baseline and energy-management plan and report their progress annually to ITP. An ALLY may target its resources to help these LEADER companies meet their pledge. DOE is seeking collaborations with partners that have existing relationships with U.S. manufacturers and the capability to deliver industrial energy efficiency resources. By joining together, DOE and ALLY organizations are creating a national network of federal, local, and specialized industrial energy efficiency services.
There are unlimited opportunities to help industrial companies achieve their energy efficiency and energy-management goals. Organizations may offer direct, indirect, or in-kind resources and assistance to help companies. For example, some partners may choose to introduce companies to DOE's resources, provide technical assistance, develop new energy efficiency resources, offer financial incentives for energy-saving projects, or help fund research and development activities for emerging or new technologies. Other partners may bring problem-solving skills to help industry move forward with energy-saving projects or strategies. DOE welcomes innovative approaches and encourages utility, state, industrial assessment centers and trade associations to sign the letter of commitment and gain national recognition for participating in industrial energy efficiency achievement.
For more information, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/leader_ally.html.