As unemployment in America remains high, it is incumbent on Congress to quickly take steps to revitalize existing manufacturing and create new jobs. Manufacturing produces wealth, encourages economic growth, and has been a key factor in this country's high standard of living. No effort to repair the economy or create jobs can be accomplished without the involvement of the industrial sector—it is the base upon which the entire economy is built. Productive investments in manufacturing ripple throughout the economy, as every manufacturing job—such as operating and maintaining machines and facilities—supports three jobs elsewhere in the economy, including the design, marketing, delivery, and sale of those manufactured goods. A new focus on advanced manufacturing processes can make the sector more energy-efficient, cleaner, safer, and most important, can create and preserve sustainable jobs and make American industries more competitive in the global economy.
Economic stimulus for energy-efficient manufacturing is a key component to this sector's continued competitiveness and growth. However, recent actions by Congress to stimulate the economy have largely overlooked the industrial sector. Indeed, of the $787 billion spent on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), only $156 million was reserved specifically for industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP), and a minimal portion of state grants went to investments in manufacturing.
The Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) within the Department of Energy (DOE) received applications requesting over $3.8 billion for the $156 million in available grants—over 24 times the funds available. These grants are rendered even more productive because they leverage private funds that exceed the federal share. The $156 million that DOE ITP awarded represents a total investment of $785 million; the requested $3.8 billion would have leveraged a total investment of $9.2 billion. The proposals outlined below, and other similar proposals that could be funded through an expansion of this existing program, represent large-scale, "shovel-ready" opportunities for stimulus spending that can put people to work immediately while contributing to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Through technology production and installation, and the implementation of engineering best practices and other energy efficiency programs, tens of thousands of jobs will be created and existing jobs will be preserved by the increased competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
Moreover, the manufacturing sector faces some significant market barriers that often make improved efficiency and competitiveness a complex task. Federal policies to encourage investment in this area can help to overcome these barriers.
We, the undersigned organizations and firms, call upon the U.S. Congress to provide significant stimulus to the manufacturing sector for investments in energy efficiency and tooling for the production of energy-efficient and clean energy products. Specifically, we suggest enactment of the following provisions to increase employment in the manufacturing sector and set the United States back on the path of sustainable economic growth and competitiveness:
Congress should first and foremost specify that DOE immediately fund any projects that were found meritorious during the Recovery Act solicitation but were denied due to lack of funding, and direct DOE to immediately issue and process a second solicitation to identify other "shovel-ready" projects with awards to be made by mid-year. In addition to a general solicitation for industrial energy efficiency, this second solicitation should allocate a portion for small and medium manufacturing enterprises (SME). SMEs are a vital part of the economy and are important to job creation, but were underrepresented in the recent DOE grant awards. Providing a dedicated allocation to SMEs would address this opportunity.
The ARRA funds noted above were specified for CHP, district energy systems, waste energy recovery systems, and industrial end-use energy efficiency, which received only a relatively small amount. There are still many industrial energy efficiency initiatives with great potential for job creation, including: