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DOE Announces $60 Million in Manufacturing Energy Efficiency
Nebraska Ag Connection - 07/27/2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Monday announced $60 million in funding for its largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), which assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their carbon emissions and lowering energy costs, while training the next generation of energy-efficiency workers. The groundbreaking investment will help remove barriers to decarbonization across the manufacturing sector and advance the Biden Administration's goal of achieving a clean energy economy.

"America's best and brightest university students are successfully helping local manufacturers reduce pollution, save energy, and cut their electricity bills," said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. "DOE's university-based Industrial Assessment Centers are assisting small- and medium-sized businesses -- particularly those in disadvantaged and underrepresented communities -- in the transition to a clean energy economy, building the next-generation energy workforce, and propelling America toward a carbon-free future by 2050."

This new cohort of IACs at 32 universities will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning, and providing trainings to entities located in disadvantaged communities. The cohort will also engage in a new pilot project to expand to the commercial building market. As part of the pilot, selected IACs will partner with community colleges and technical programs to train diverse students and professionals to conduct energy-efficiency assessments of small to medium-sized buildings, including those located in disadvantaged communities.

To date, the IACs program, one of DOE's longest-running programs managed by the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), has provided nearly 20,000 no-cost assessments for small- and medium-sized manufacturers and more than 147,000 recommendations for improvement measures. Assessments typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was one of the institutions funded.

"West Virginia University continues to represent the Mountain State at the highest levels, and I am pleased WVU has been selected yet again to help small and medium-sized manufacturers across America lower their energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while remaining globally competitive," said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "Today's announcement is further acknowledgment of WVU's groundbreaking engineering programs, world-class students and first-rate faculty. Investments like this will provide students with more opportunities, ensuring that the next generation is equipped with the skills and training necessary to keep West Virginia on the cutting edge of innovation."

"Arizona helps lead our nation's energy innovation, and I am so proud that Arizona State University is training the next generation of engineers to fuel productivity, lower emissions and costs, and strengthen American security," said U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

"The Colorado School of Mines is a leader here in Colorado and across the country and the world for their research and work to advance knowledge in the areas of renewable energy sources and technology, advanced water treatment, high-performance computing, and more," said U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-07). "I'm pleased to see the institution chosen as an Industrial Assessment Center to work with small and medium-sized businesses and their employees to become more sustainable, efficient and resilient."

"We always say the next generation of Louisianans is one of our state's best assets and this investment backs this up," said U.S. Representative Garret Graves (LA-06). "When we use opportunities such as this one, we have the chance to take LSU's College of Engineering to the next level. Through this program, LSU engineering students will be able to gain incredible real-world experience -- bolstering their skills for a potential job while helping to bring down energy costs for Louisiana's manufacturers, reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. This is a win-win-win for our students, workforce, and South Louisiana communities."

"The University of Washington has a long record of being a local, national, and global leader on developing the scientific innovations necessary to aggressively take on climate change," said U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). "I am grateful that the Biden-Harris Administration is prioritizing climate action while immediately centering environmental justice and investing in our institutions of higher education so they can lead the way in protecting our planet for generations to come. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to create green jobs, achieve a renewable energy future, and guarantee clean air, safe drinking water, and public lands for all."

"I am pleased that the Department of Energy has selected Mississippi State University to be a university-based Industrial Assessment Center," said U.S. Representative Michael Guest (MS-03). "MSU is a trusted leader in energy issues and has a longstanding history of working successfully with the Department on these critical matters. I know that MSU will bring tremendous value to this effort."

"At a time when our region faces so many workforce challenges, establishing an Industrial Assessment Center at Louisiana Tech will not only help get more of our citizens on the job, it will also make major long term contributions to the Fifth District," said U.S. Representative Julia Letlow (LA-05).

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