As the merits of the EPA's Clean Power Plan are argued at an appeals court today, recent data is adding more backbone to arguments in favor of the rules to reduce carbon emissions. Separate reports from Georgia Tech and the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency show how implementation of the Clean Power Plan can boost competitiveness for manufacturers in Illinois and other states.
Douglas Jester with clean-energy consultant, 5 Lakes Energy, said it's clear that energy-efficiency strategies reduce energy bills.
"These studies have shown that industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual," he said.
The studies say under the Clean Power Plan, manufacturers in Illinois would see an estimated annual energy savings of $2.3 billion in 2030, and carbon emissions would be reduced by almost 10 million tons.
The executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Jennifer Kefer, said savings from industrial energy efficiency can be invested in plant modernization, product improvements or job creation. She contends the reports dispel the myth that clean energy and manufacturing competitiveness have to be in conflict.
"By investing in industrial efficiency, we can reduce emissions while simultaneously slashing utility bills, creating jobs and strengthening the industrial sector," she explained. "And those benefits are really spelled out in the findings of our report pretty dramatically."
Thomas Research Products produces LED drivers, light engines, surge protectors and lighting controls. When they moved the company headquarters to Elgin, communication manager Michael Wypasek said they replaced all industrial lights with LEDs.
"Saving somewhere between 300 to 400 watts per fixture, times 500 fixtures, that adds up," he said.
Wypasek said companies across the country are beginning to see that although there's an up-front cost of switching to the energy-saving light bulbs, in the long run, it pays off.