#GJGJ2014 -- Panelists focus on making clean, energy efficient technology in the United States

Posted by LDonia on 02/12/2014

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) made its presence felt at the first day of the BlueGreen Alliance's Good Jobs Green Jobs conference. From a book signing, to workshops, AAM was all over the place.

Brian Lombardozzi, AAM’s vice president for state governmental affairs, took part in the “Delivering on Jobs Promises” workshop. Lombardozzi was joined by Libby Wayman of the Department of Energy and Casey Bell of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on a panel moderated by BlueGreen Alliance’s Zoe Lipman.

Lipman opened the workshop by stating how successful the auto bailout was and suggesting it exist as a model.

“The rescue package provided a foundation for building,” Lipman said.

Upon that foundation came “regulation done right” which was “fair, globally competitive and protected taxpayer investment.”

And on top of that came manufacturing incentives. “We could build more jobs,” Lipman pointed out, “by building new environmental regulation technology in the United States.”

Both Wayman and Lombardozzi repeated this idea: Don't just update our energy regulations, but produce the necessary technology to faciliatate that regulation in the United States.

Wayman pointed out the root of the problem: “Clean energy technology is a large and steadily growing market,” she explained.

It surpassed $260 billion worldwide in 2012. ”But we’re not supporting clean tech R&D with U.S. manufacturing,” she pointed out.

Lombardozzi agreed with Wayman, and mentioned an additional disheartening fact:

“Manufacturing jobs have been on a plummet and seem to have bottomed out around January 2010. We want to see the administration doing more than talking” about rebuilding this corner of the economy, he said.

But, he also acknowledged the issue of “congressional gridlock.”

So … what’s a factory or business to do?

While jobs related to the manufacture of new, clean technologies may be proliferating at a slow trickle rate, the upgrade of existing factories to more energy efficient standards can indeed save companies money and help expand their productivity.

But Wayman said doing so isn’t as expensive or complicated as it sounds. In fact, the Department of Energy has programs set up to support small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies to improve energy efficiency.

These resources include industrial assessment centers (at universities), combined heat and power technical assistance partnerships and recognition programs for manufacturers who commit to (and follow through on) implementing energy efficiency.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Department of Energy’s manufacturing initiatives, visit its website here.

Image: AAM's Brian Lombardozzi addresses the crowd during the Good Jobs Green Jobs 'Delivering on Jobs Promises' workshop.

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