President Obama recently signed H.R. 6582, the “American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act,” which directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the use of innovative manufacturing processes and applied research for development, demonstration and commercialization of new technologies and processes to improve industrial efficiency.

“The [act] is the legislative vehicle for provisions promoting advanced metering in the federal government; a greater focus at the Department of Energy on deployment of existing manufacturing technologies; improved energy efficiency within federal facilities; and a study on barriers to industrial deployment of electric motors, demand response, and combined heat and power technologies,” according to a release from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), which endorsed the bill.

“There are huge gains in industrial energy efficiency that we are leaving on the table by not addressing the inefficiencies in many manufacturing and industrial processes,” said Paul Hamilton, chair of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Coalition (IEEC). “Policies such as this are helping to understand and tackle these industrial energy-efficiency opportunities.”

Energy-intensive manufacturers have long been aware of the cost of inefficient energy use and have made major investments in sensors, controls and automation to reduce their energy costs.

The bill also compels certain federal facilities to publish energy and water consumption data on an individual facility basis and ensures certain technical corrections to lighting efficiency and electric motor provisions in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“The challenge now is to drive awareness and deployment of these energy-efficiency opportunities across the entire manufacturing sector, especially into the less energy intensive sites, which represents some 150,000 facilities across the United States,” said Bruce Quinn, a founding member of the IEEC. “We also need to make sure future policies support the continued positive investment environment for industrial efficiency.”

Founding IEEC members ABB, Eaton Corp., GE, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric and Siemens are promoting policies that give proper attention to the efficiency gains that automation can contribute to any manufacturing facility or other industrial process.