Recent News

DOE Releases Major Report to Congress: "Barriers to Industrial Energy Efficiency"


From DOE Advanced Manufacvturing Office:

"The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is pleased to announce the release of Barriers to Industrial Energy Efficiency, prepared as directed by the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (Act).  DOE prepared this report with collaboration from nearly 50 experts, including representatives from industrial associations, combined heat and power (CHP) groups, environmental stewardship organizations, associations of state governmental agencies, and federal governmental agen­cies." Click here to access the report


USDA Announces Broad New Initative to Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Agriculture


From the USDA Climate Change Program Office:

"On April 23rd, 2015, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled a plan to help farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners respond to climate change. The framework consists of ten "building blocks" that span a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage, and generate clean renewable energy.

Through this initiative, USDA will use authorities in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide incentives and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners... USDA expects to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) per year by 2025." Click here to read more.


MEEA Member Schneider Electric Certifies 10 North American Facilities to SEP


From the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office:

"We've found that Superior Energy Performance is a great way to drive down energy use and costs across the company," said Dennis Edwards, Schneider Electric's Energy Manager North America. "We’re extremely proud to have achieved SEP certification in ten of our facilities across North America. This milestone is proof that the SEP framework can help an organization achieve real savings through active energy management that can continue to produce results over time." Click here to read more.


Successful Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit Held in Chicago


Another successful Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit took place in Chicago, co-hosted by the Midwestern Governors Association, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity, MEEA, the Midwest Cogeneration Association, and many others. This year's theme, "Capitalizing on Opportunity", featured two speaker panels that provided attendees with information about industrial energy productivity (IEP) projects in the Midwest. The first panel highlighted IEP policies and projects in three Midwestern states. The second panel highlighted Midwestern private sector success stories in IEP. To read more and access the presentations, click here.


DOE’s Superior Energy Performance Program Publishes Early Results


Nine companies certified under the Energy Department’s Superior Energy Performance Program (SEP) have shown an average energy performance improvement of 10% in the first 18 months of implementing SEP with an average payback of 1.7 years. These findings and other results are included in a paper presented at the July Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry hosted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and are now provided in a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report, Assessing the Costs and Benefits of the Superior Energy Performance Program. Through SEP, industrial facilities implement the ISO 50001 energy management standard and pursue third-party verification of their energy performance improvements.


DOE Loan Guarantee Office solicitation issued last Tues, July 2, on Advanced Fossil Energy Projects 

Applicants are invited to apply for loan guarantees from DOE under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§16511-16516 (“Title XVII”). Under this Solicitation, DOE seeks Applications for loan guarantees to finance projects and facilities located in the US that employ innovative and advanced fossil energy technologies ("Advanced Fossil Energy Projects”) that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases.
Illustrative Types of Eligible Projects -- Efficiency Improvements:
a) Combined heat and power;
b) Waste heat recovery on industrial facilities;
Eligible Projects include Efficiency Improvements -- Projects or facilities that incorporate new or improved technologies to increase efficiencies and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel supply and use; and that meet both of the following requirements:
a) Projects or facilities that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases; and
b) Projects or facilities that employ New or Significantly Improved Technology as compared to Commercial Technology in service in the United State at the time the Term Sheet is issued.
For more information:

Ohio cheese company generates power from waste


A US cheese manufacturer is set to make a saving of $40,000 a year in electricity costs, after deciding to power its operations through on-site waste water.

Pearl Valley Cheese Co., an 80-year-old family-owned business in central Ohio, is going green with an energy-saving power system that runs on cheese manufacturing waste water and promises to save the company more than $40,000 per year in electricity costs.

The advanced system, custom-designed and installed by GEM Energy of Walbridge, OH, is powered by a C65 Capstone® MicroTur­bine, which is capable of producing 65 kW of electricity. The system will run on methane gas from recycled cheese manufacturing waste water.

  Before digester gas can be used as fuel, moisture must be removed.  The existing system at Pearl Valley used a low-pressure moisture removal sys­tem. GEM Energy designed a high-pressure moisture removal system to make the gas work with the Capstone turbine.

  By recycling waste to generate electricity, Pearl Valley Cheese has reduced its use of coal-generated electricity, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. These were important steps in meeting Pearl Valley’s sustainability goals – because methane’s green­house gas impact on the atmosphere is 21 times greater than carbon dioxide, and burning methane in a flare completely wastes its energy value.

  Pearl Valley has been using the digester gas to fuel the steam boiler for process heat, but based on falling natural gas prices and rising electric prices, the company ultimately decided on a technology that could generate electricity with the renewable fuel.

Pearl Valley’s owners chose a Capstone Microturbine, with its ultra-low emissions, low maintenance cost, quiet operation and ability to handle gas with a high sulfur content as the best fit for their facility.

The system allows Pearl Valley to operate on multiple energy sources, including electricity, natural gas and biogas – which reduces the impact of sharp increases in cost for any single energy source.

“This project demonstrates Pearl Valley’s commitment to the health and safety of the community,” says Chuck Ellis, president, Pearl Valley Cheese.


Energy Department Highlights Nissan's Better Plants Challenge Showcase Project in Tennessee


As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to lowering energy bills for U.S. businesses, the Energy Department today recognized Nissan's participation in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge and its showcase project at the company's new energy efficient paint plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson joined officials from Tennessee and Nissan on a tour of the Smyrna paint plant, which opened in January and is expected to cut energy use by almost a third compared to its predecessor.

"Partners in the Better Plants Challenge are leading by example, showing firsthand how energy efficiency improvements save money by saving energy," said Assistant Secretary Danielson. "The investments made through the Better Plants Challenge are helping cut energy waste while saving businesses millions in energy costs, creating American jobs, and helping to increase the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector."

Each year, the U.S. spends about $200 billion just to power commercial buildings—and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities. Together, commercial and industrial buildings account for roughly half of the nation's energy use and more than 40% of our carbon emissions. The Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge serves as the industrial component of President Obama's broader Better Buildings Challenge which was launched in December 2011 to help America's commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20% more efficient over the next decade.

"Nissan is committed to increasing energy efficiency as we reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing high quality vehicles sold in North America," said Susan Brennan, Nissan's vice president of manufacturing in Smyrna. "These efforts align with our global commitment to zero emission vehicle leadership and corporate social responsibility to employees, stakeholders, and our customers."

As a partner in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, Nissan North America has committed to reducing energy use in its three U.S. plants 25% by 2020, affecting 12 million square feet of plant space. According to Nissan's projections, the new 250,000 square-foot footprint Smyrna paint plant is capable of reducing energy use and carbon emissions by 30%.

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge helps more than 11 industrial building owners cut energy waste and save money on their utility bills through a range of energy efficiency measures, such as whole facility energy system improvements, compressed air updates, submetering initiatives, and energy efficient facility construction. Participating organizations receive technical assistance from the Department and share best practices on industrial energy efficiency with other Challenge partners.

For more information please visit the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge website.


Energy Department, Treasury Announce Availability of $150 Million in Tax Credits for Clean Energy Manufacturers



As part of President's Obama's all-of-the-above approach to American energy, the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Treasury today announced the availability of $150 million in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing projects across the United States. This important tax program is focused on strengthening America's global competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing, increasing our energy security, and creating new jobs and opportunities for American workers.

"Since 2009, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program has supported innovative American manufacturers that boost our nation's competitiveness in the global race for clean energy," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "These new investments will continue that momentum, supporting the President's commitment to American-made energy, increasing energy security, and creating jobs."

"As the economy continues to heal, the President has been clear that we have to do everything we can to boost growth and job creation today and build a more sustainable foundation for tomorrow," said Acting Secretary of the Treasury Neal S. Wolin. "Manufacturing the clean energy products of the future in America will create good, middle-class jobs right now and help lay the groundwork for the long-term resilience of our economy."

The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support investment in domestic clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing facilities through a competitively-awarded 30% investment tax credit. The initial round provided $2.3 billion in credits to 183 projects across the country. The $150 million in tax credits are being made available today because they were not used by the previous awardees.

Over the past four years, the United States has more than doubled clean, renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources, and has strengthened its position as a global leader in the clean energy race. At the same time, the American manufacturing sector has begun to rebound, with 500,000 manufacturing jobs added since the beginning of 2010. These tax credits will help continue this growth, while enhancing the country's energy security and boosting local economic development.

The program supports manufacturing of a range of clean energy products, from renewable energy equipment to energy efficiency products to advanced energy storage and carbon capture technology. A full list of eligible projects is included in the 48C Manufacturing Tax Credit fact sheet.

These remaining tax credits will be allocated on a competitive basis. Projects will be assessed by the Department of Energy based on the following criteria: commercial viability, domestic job creation, technological innovation, speed to project completion, and potential for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Energy will also consider additional factors including diversity of geography, technology, project size, and regional economic development. The full solicitation is available on the IRS website.


Energy Department to Provide Technical Assistance to Facilities Impacted by EPA Boiler Rule


On December 20, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a specific set of adjustments to Clean Air Act standards, originally finalized in March 2011, for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters (known as Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)), sets standards to cut emissions of hazardous air pollutants, such as mercury, dioxin, and lead, from large boilers in a range of industrial facilities and institutions. DOE will offer technical assistance to affected sites currently burning coal or oil, highlighting strategies such as natural gas combined heat and power (CHP), and more efficient boilers, to cut harmful pollution and reduce operational costs.

DOE will provide site-specific technical and cost information to the major source facilities currently burning coal or oil through its regional Clean Energy Application Centers (CEACs). The CEACs will visit these facilities to discuss strategies for compliance, including CHP, as well as provide information on potential funding and financing opportunities available for CHP, controls, boilers and energy efficiency assessments. Facilities that make use of this technical assistance can potentially develop strategies to comply with the regulations while adding to their bottom line. DOE has been conducting a pilot of the technical assistance program in Ohio since March 2012 in partnership with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The pilot program has engaged with a variety of industrial and energy efficiency stakeholders in the state and effectively connected affected facilities with clean energy solutions.

In accordance with the August 2012 Executive Order on Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency, DOE has joined EPA in an effort to help ensure that major sources burning coal and oil have information on cost-effective clean energy strategies for compliance. For more information on the DOE technical assistance program, see:

Additional Resources

Information on financial incentives available at the local, state, utility and federal levels to assist facilities with the costs of investing in CHP, boiler tune-ups, controls and/or energy efficiency assessments is available at: PDF

Information about the rule, including links to the regulatory dockets, technical information on how the limits were developed, and impact assessments, is available at:

(From DOE AMO Newsletter, 12/21/2012)


Energy Efficiency Policies, Programs, and Practices in the Midwest: A Resource Guide for Policymakers


With $1.7 billion expected to be spent on Energy Efficiency in the Midwest by 2015, New Resource Guide gives policymakers proven successes from across the region

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance releases the Midwest Energy Efficiency Resource Guide for Policymakers

Chicago, IL, November 12, 2012 – Energy efficiency investment in the Midwest has grown exponentially in the last ten years. While only $200 million was spent on energy efficiency in 2004, in 2012 that has increased to an estimated $1.2 billion and is expected to increase to nearly $1.7 billion by 2015. New regional report from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) details policies and programs currently in place that will guide the more efficient use of electricity and natural gas.

Since 2002, more than $6.4 billion has been invested in energy efficiency across the Midwest. The Midwest Energy Efficiency Resource Guide was developed to give regulators and policymakers a comprehensive report on how this ratepayer money has been invested. MEEA released this report to the Mid-America Regulatory Conference at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, on November 12, 2012. The Energy Efficiency Policies, Programs, and Practices in the Midwest: A Resource Guide for Policymakers, funded in part by the Joyce Foundation, highlights many of the state and local energy efficiency policies, regulations and programs from across the region and is intended to be a resource for legislators, regulators, advocates and other stakeholders active in the energy efficiency space.

While the Midwest includes metropolitan areas, small towns and rural communities, it also has many commonalities across jurisdictions, including climate zone, building stock, and generally lower energy prices. As such, this guide provides policymakers, utilities, and other entities with policies, programs, and practices that have been adopted elsewhere in the Midwest.

These policies, programs, and practices include the following:

  •     Actions by states and local governments to reduce their own energy consumption, as well as promote and recognize energy efficiency efforts by their residents and businesses;
  •     Synopsis of energy efficiency policies that encourage or require ratepayer funded efficiency programs operated by utilities or other organizations;
  •     Policies that allow utilities to recover the costs of energy efficiency programs, recover any lost revenue due to lower energy sales, and provide an incentive for utility investments in energy efficiency;
  •     Adoption of building energy codes that reduce energy consumption in new residential and commercial buildings;
  •     Benchmarking of public and private buildings, and providing building owners with the tools necessary to reduce energy usage by their tenants;
  •     Policies and programs targeting the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy; and
  •     Programs aimed at assisting customers finance energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses.

According to Jay Wrobel, MEEA’s Executive Director, “this energy efficiency resource guide is intended to provide a snapshot of energy efficiency policies and programs across the region as well as to identify the examples that could be adopted by policymakers wanting to promote energy efficiency practices in their jurisdiction.”  MEEA recognizes that not every policy addressed in the guide is appropriate for every jurisdiction. However, MEEA hopes that this guide will provide “policymakers in every state or locality a wide array of energy efficiency policies and decide which are most appropriate for their jurisdiction and residents.”

This guide will be a “living document” housed on MEEA’s website at and as changes to policies are made or new programs adopted, these changes will be reflected on the site. In addition, MEEA’s website provides links to many of the policies and programs that are references in the report.

Download the report here. (11.7MB PDF)