Argonne Observations

Argonne Observations

Dear Mr. President,

We at NEMA were delighted when you visited Argonne National Laboratory to raise the curtain on initiatives aimed at delivering a “clean and security energy future” to the nation.

One part of the two-part strategy you unveiled was music to our ears:  making our current energy resources go farther across the economy. The other part was expanding domestic energy sources, mostly in renewables.

You spoke of an “Energy Efficiency Race to the Top challenge” that will build on the “success of partnerships with the public and private sectors to promote energy efficiency” and continue “investments in technologies that improve energy productivity and cut waste,” as noted in a White House fact sheet.

We’re all for these things. NEMA supports a comprehensive domestic energy policy that will efficiently provide affordable, safe, and reliable electricity to the American public.

But we also believe energy efficiency should be the very foundation — the “first fuel” — to meet the nation’s energy needs, even ahead of renewables. Efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest source of electricity. Everybody, everywhere can take part in helping America produce electricity at a fraction of the cost of building new generation facilities of any type.

What will it take to make this possible?  Here are our recommendations to incorporate in your program for a clean and secure energy future:

  • Development of microgrids and energy storage facilities, and Smart Grid applications for utilities to give them greater situational awareness. These are essential to further expansion of renewables and other intermittent forms of generation that lead to instability in the grid.
  • Industry-supported, national consensus performance standards and energy codes based on currently available technologies to reduce energy costs for public and private sector end users and consumers. These performance standards need to be federally implemented to avoid a costly patchwork of conflicting state requirements.
  • Renewal of the transmission and distribution network that ensures the electricity (from whatever source) brings power to the customer also needs to be included in your plans.
  • And finally, make government facilities the demonstration sites of your national energy efficiency movement — thus delivering cost savings to America’s taxpayers.

Thanks for letting us share ideas from the front lines of the electrical manufacturing industry.



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