Miriam Pye, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Gordon Slack, The Dow Chemical Company
The 2005 ACEEE Summer Study was the 7th biennial ACEEE conference on Energy Efficiency in Industry. Participants from around the world gathered for three days to discuss technical, policy, and program issues related to increasing energy efficiency in industry. Presentations and discussions related to the theme, "Cutting the High Cost of Energy." Attendees included energy decision makers from industry, equipment manufacturers, government policymakers, electric utility staff, energy consultants, leading industrial energy researchers, and academics.
Insights from the 2005 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry
By: Neal Elliott. ACEEE Industrial Program Director
About 250 people attended the Summer Study, held at West Point, New York, July 19–22, 2005. The conference featured a large number of peer-reviewed papers and generated numerous excellent discussions, with many of the most important occurring as informal networking opportunities. Not surprisingly, it is difficult to concisely summarize the many dynamic ideas and thought-processes that emerged from an assemblage of such a diverse group of experts as this one.
"Cutting the High Cost of Energy," drew the second largest group of participants since the biennial Summer Study's inception in 1993 in Portland, Oregon. The conference represented the sixth that was held in New York State in cooperation with NYSERDA. The theme and program were developed by the conference co-chairs Miriam Pye from NYSERDA and Gordon Slack of the Dow Chemical Company, ably assisted by a dozen Panel Leaders who selected and managed the reviews of nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers.
Key Organizational Participants:
The conference produced perhaps the best industrial turnout as well as a broad representation from the international community with participants ranging from South Africa and China to Sweden and Germany. Companies representing the spectrum of U.S. manufacturing attended, including GM, Dow, DuPont, Rohm and Haas, Anheuser-Busch, 3M, and Corning. We also had extensive participation by utility program staff and consultants. Government entities from the United States and worldwide attended including U.S. DOE and EPA, Natural Resources Canada, NYSERDA, California Energy Commission and International Energy Agency, among others. Of particular note is that this was the third time the DOE's Industrial Assessment Centers' Directors Meeting was held in conjunction with the Summer Study, allowing many of the IAC directors and staff (as well as ten students) to participate in the Summer Study. The participation of the students was extremely valuable since several papers and plenary presenters called for more outreach to the next generation of engineers. Educating them is paramount to transforming the industrial plants at which they may work in the future.
Key Concepts and Themes:
With energy prices so high, it was to be expected that much of the discussion would focus on efficiency as a cost management strategy. In addition, energy productivity, non-energy benefits (which can be anywhere from 30 to 100 percent of anticipated energy savings), and international competitiveness were recurring themes. Interestingly, the concept of sustainability (the theme of the 2003 Summer Study) has now become broadly accepted as an organizing principle by most large companies. One recurring observation was the need to reach out to corporate Chief Financial Officers and comptrollers in order to add their perspectives to the Summer Study discussions. The importance of accurate energy data and proper interpretation of models and modeling results also received a lot of attention. The policy and programmatic community depends highly on the accuracy of these items.
The Three Really Big Ideas:
The ideas that emerged from the discussions were:
- The importance of improved links between the financial community and the plant managers – and between the financial community and the energy efficiency community more generally, as was brought home by our closing plenary speaker Peter Garforth.
- The need for significantly greater trust between industry and government. To close the efficiency and information gaps, we also have to close this very important credibility gap.
- A growing awareness that the industrial sector is in many ways at the mercy of other energy-using sectors for future energy price and availability.
Thanks to the Team Who Made Summer Study Possible:
ACEEE owes the success of the Summer Study to all of the people who contributed their time and energy: the co-chairs, the panel leaders, the sponsors, and the organizing committee. Rebecca Lunetta (Conferences Manager) warrants a special thank you for organizing another seamless conference and to Glee Murray (Communications Director) for overseeing everything. Thanks also to Renee Nida (Editor), for helping to assemble the proceedings and to Julie Harvell (Operations Director) for creating the conference web site. Thanks, too, to my colleagues Skip Laitner, Anna Shipley, and Susanne Brooks for helping to pull together these insights.