Spurring a Manufacturing Renaissance: Increasing Competitiveness through Energy EfficiencyThe Capitol Energy Report, April 16, 2014
U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright recently introduced the JobCreation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act (H.R. 4162), which would encourage the use of energy efficient technologies in the manufacturing sector. While some manufacturers are modestly benefitting from cheaper natural gas, it’s important to think how to the United States continue can advance true long-term international competitiveness rather than short-term advantages. The Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act (EEM Act) is a step in the right direction by providing manufacturers the ability to leverage emerging innovations in clean energy and energy efficiency to lower their energy costs for good.
U.S. international industrial competitiveness is critical to the economic well-being of the United States as other countries fiercely compete for jobs, emerging industries and economic growth. This is particularly important in traded sectors of the economy-such as clean energy, aerospace, and ICT technologies-that are central to the economic health of the United States. Unfortunately, America’s traded sectors have not fared well during the last decade. From 1990 to 2007 U.S. traded sectors achieved nearly no growth in jobs, manufacturing output declined by 11 percent, and the U.S. trade deficit in manufacturing products topped at $4 trillion. In recent years, fortunes have shifted some as cheap domestic natural gas flooded the market and provided U.S. manufacturers a modest advantage, though its only slowed, not stopped domestic manufacturing decline. In addition, this competitive advantage may not last forever as natural gas prices are expected to rise and the U.S. is expected toexport more of its domestic supply. As a result, it’s important to think more comprehensively how to achieve a more robust, long-lasting and competitive manufacturing sector in the future.