Press Release

Pew Commends Congress on Bipartisan Industrial Energy Efficiency Bill

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Note: This was updated on Aug. 26, 2015, Dec. 4, 2015, March 24, 2016, and June 15, 2016, to include additional groups that have endorsed the POWER Act.

WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts commends the bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators that today introduced the Power Efficiency and Resiliency Act (POWER Act). The bills, S. 1516 and H.R. 2657, would ensure that industrial energy efficiency technologies—combined heat and power, and waste heat to power—are treated in a manner that is on par with other renewables covered by the investment tax credit.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Robert Casey (D-PA) and Representatives Thomas Reed (R-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Chris Collins (R-NY), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Joe Heck (R-NV), Ron Kind  (D-WI), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Peter Welch (D-VT) are original co-sponsors of the bill.

Research has shown that when businesses adopt highly efficient energy systems in industrial, institutional, and commercial settings, it significantly reduces costs, curbs pollution, and enhances the resilience of the commercial electricity grid. The incentives in this bill could create as many as 1 million highly skilled jobs and spur more than $200 billion in private investment.

This bipartisan legislation would:

  • Provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for industrial energy efficiency systems equal to other technologies such as solar, fuel cells, and small wind turbines.
  • Include waste heat to power as a qualifying technology that is eligible for the credit.
  • Remove size and capacity restrictions, making combined heat and power installations of any size eligible for the credit.
  • Extend the credit, which is scheduled to expire in December 2016, to December 2018.

“The POWER Act is good energy, economic, and environmental policy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy initiative. “Waste heat to power and combined heat and power are proven, highly efficient technologies that capture waste heat and recycle it to produce electricity and/or heat or cool buildings. They are already used at hospitals, military bases, wastewater treatment plants, and other critical facilities that need reliable electricity to provide crucial services even during grid outages and natural disasters.”

By producing heat and power from a single fuel source, combined heat and power has double the efficiency of central station power generation. Waste heat to power captures heat that would typically be vented from an industrial facility and uses it to make electricity with no additional combustion and no incremental emissions. Both technologies dramatically improve efficiency while reducing emissions and cost.

“The POWER Act is welcome news to industry, workers, environmentalists, and first responders. Congress should pass this bipartisan measure and help the United States power forward,” Cuttino said.

More than 245 businesses, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and research institutions have endorsed the POWER Act. See the list.

See quotes from Pew’s Clean Energy Business Network about their support for the POWER Act.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org/industrialefficiency.

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