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capitalbuilding 120Congressman Tom Reed announced bipartisan legislation Monday which would help American manufacturers with energy consumption and costs.  The POWER Act, HR 2657 would encourage businesses to use new technologies to convert their "waste heat" into electricity.

"This is a great piece of legislation that really gives our manufacturers a competitive edge around the world. Time and time again, I've heard that energy consumption is the largest cost driver for manufacturers across the Southern Tier," said Reed. "This is a very simple way to help them keep those costs in check."

"Waste heat" is heat generated as a byproduct during many manufacturing processes.  Currently, there are technologies available, called Waste Heat to Power or WHP, that harness this heat and convert it into electricity. Without this technology, waste heat would otherwise be expelled into the atmosphere as a pollutant.  Instead, it can be used at a manufacturing facility to offset electrical costs or even be sold back to the main electrical grid for consumer use.

The POWER Act would make it easier for companies to gain access to this technology by offering a new tax credit to offset the upfront cost of purchasing and installing WHP systems. Further, the bill also aims to offer assistance to even the smallest manufactures by removing size and capacity restrictions on the types of systems installed.  The bill also expands existing tax credits for electrical generation.

The aim of the legislation is to spur long term investment as many manufacturers are reluctant to invest in this type of innovation as it diverts funding from core operations.  Ultimately, the goal of the bill would be to make some of the largest energy users and power generators more efficient and productive, and therefore globally competitive.

It is estimated that roughly 12 percent of all electricity in the United States could be generated through industrial efficiency technologies alone.  Currently, there are 3,600 facilities around the United States using these systems.

"Its new technologies, like waste heat to power, which are absolutely vital to America's quest for energy independence," Reed continued.  "It's good for our National Security because it reduces our dependence on Middle Eastern crude oil.  It's good for our environment because it creates electricity from pollution.  It's good for our workers, because it makes the cost of doing business cheaper in the United States, which means more jobs here at home, without cuts to wages."

It is estimated that using waste heat for electrical generation could reduce operating costs for manufacturing industries in the United States by more than 3 billion dollars, enough to create 160,000 jobs.

Pierre Dumas, the Vice-President of Strategic Business Development and Commercialization at Dresser-Rand, which has facilities throughout Western New York also applauded the measure stating, "We are grateful to Congressman Reed for championing the POWER Act, which would add waste heat to power (WHP) as a qualifying technology for the investment tax credit for clean energy and make other key improvements to this incentive. Our company manufactures WHP turbines in Western New York, so we can attest to the local economic benefits of this legislation.  This common-sense bill will help our nation produce more home-grown energy, allow manufacturers and other large energy users to save money, and generate new businesses and jobs across the country."

The bipartisan bill has received a wide array of support from across the country and the aisle. Cosponsors include Rep. Collins (R-NY),  Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Amodei (R-NV), Rep. Heck (R-NV), Rep. Welch (D-VT), Rep. Kind (D-WI), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Titus (D-NV), and Rep. Gibson (R-NY).

"The process of capturing waste heat is capital intensive, often prohibitively so, and as a result much of this potential is lost to the atmosphere. The POWER Act will encourage investment in this energy efficiency technology, creating jobs and reducing our energy consumption," said Representative Earl Blumenauer.

There is a companion bill in the Senate, which is also receiving bipartisan support from Senator Casey (D-PA) and Senator Collins (R-ME).

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