President Obama, Chief Investor: Leave Energy Upgrades to the Businesses
Reading President Obama’s latest Executive Order (EO) on industrial energy efficiency, one would think American companies were not interested in saving money and gaining a competitive advantage:
While our manufacturing facilities have made progress in becoming more energy efficient over the past several decades, there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand these efforts with investments to reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing processes and facilities and the expanded use of combined heat and power (CHP). Instead of burning fuel in an on site boiler to produce thermal energy and also purchasing electricity from the grid, a manufacturing facility can use a CHP system to provide both types of energy in one energy efficient step. Accelerating these investments in our Nation’s factories can improve the competitiveness of United States manufacturing, lower energy costs, free up future capital for businesses to invest, reduce air pollution, and create jobs.
President Obama’s EO goes on to state that manufacturers are under-investing in energy efficiency and that public investment in efficiency upgrades will encourage private investment to capture this low-hanging fruit. While technological advancements do often improve efficiency, those investments should not be subsidized by the taxpayer, much less selected by Washington bureaucrats. Businesses and consumers will make these decisions, weighing preferences and considering trade-offs.