On Monday, Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Steven Chu announced plans to provide $256 million to support energy efficiency improvements in major industrial sectors across the American economy. The funding is authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is targeted at reducing energy consumption in manufacturing and information technology industries (“IT”), while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

The programs created by this funding are expected to help create manufacturing jobs along with jobs for technicians and experts needed to maintain and operate the new equipment. Secretary Chu stated that “supporting the development of the latest industrial technologies plays an important role in helping U.S. industry to lead the world in energy efficiency and productivity.” In addition, he said that “working together with American manufacturing and IT industries, we will be able to create new jobs, reduce industrial energy use and limit damaging greenhouse gas emissions.”

The funding will be focused on three main project areas:

  • Combined heat and power (“CHP”), district energy systems, waste energy recovery systems, and efficient industrial equipment ($156 million);
  • Improved energy efficiency for information and communication technology ($50 million); and
  • Advanced materials in support of advanced clean energy technologies and energy-intensive processes ($50 million).

As to the district heating category, the DOE is looking to promote technologies that can be deployed in industrial and residential settings to improve efficiency, control costs, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. In their press release, DOE stated that CHP and district energy systems can achieve efficiencies of 80% or better compared to roughly 45% for conventional heat and power production. Furthermore, waste recovery systems have the potential to save 17 gigawatts of energy nationwide annually.

For the other two categories, DOE will support research, development, and demonstration projects that will help the American industrial sector increase its competiveness, introduce new technologies, and promote job growth.

More information about these programs is available at: http://www.energy.gov/recovery/.