Manufacturing Policy Update from Washington

Well, the month of April has been a busy one in Washington Energy Policy circles. In addition to the Senate's energy efficiency in manufacturing legislation (S. 661), we are dealing with the House's Waxman-Markey climate legislation. One important element of the discussion is how to develop policies to mitigate the cost of climate legislation on energy-intensive industries. These are likely to involve some allocation of credits to the affected industries--perhaps in the form of investment incentives and additional funding for R&D to address the competitiveness impacts.

In addition, there are active discussions on other provisions that may benefit manufacturers. These include a provision to create a motor incentive grant program for EE programs to encourage the retirement of non-NEMA Premium motors and their replacement with NEMA Premium products. More details on this in coming days. If there is a tax title in the energy bill, there will be a proposal from Sen. Lincoln and Sen. Pryor for an investment tax for purchase of NEMA Premium motors in the works as well.

Finally, there have been a lot of discussions following Wednesday's Senate Energy Committee hearing on EERS and additional CHP provisions. These are still in the early discussion stages but could complement the investment tax credit and accelerated depreciation for new CHP investments that were passed in the TARP bill last fall.

So much to keep track of, but looks like Washington is taking the manufacturing sector seriously for a change.