Manufacturing is an energy-intensive enterprise. Moreover, in the Northeast, energy and electricity are expensive.  We are finding that more and more of our manufacturing clients are taking charge (pun intended) of their energy costs by looking at what used to be called “alternative energy.”

Perhaps it’s installing solar on a large, flat roof, to produce electricity for the business. For businesses that have both high heat and electricity demands, it’s combined heat and power (CHP), also called co-generation.   Facilities that generate a lot of organic matter can take advantage of advances in anaerobic digestion technologies, whereby microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion can help a facility manage its waste while generating renewable energy that can help replace fossil fuels.

In addition to advances in technology, there have been a number of advancements in financing, which make investing in alternative energy and energy improvements more viable.  For example, C-PACE (the Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy) program allows property owners to repay loans through property taxes, spreading the costs over a much longer time period.  Lastly, a number of states are now allowing “net metering,” often described as spinning the meter backward – the utility pays for electricity generated by the “customer.”

For manufacturers in the Northeast interested in energy projects, we suggest checking out the following resources:

Energize CT has a lot of information on financing, types of renewable or other energy projects. There is also a program specifically for manufacturers – Manufacturing Program Improvements.  Connecticut is also investing in research; check out the Center for Clean Energy Engineering at UConn.

Mass Save – Savings through Energy Efficiency has programs for businesses, and specifically for manufacturers, that includes incentives, financing, and training.

Rhode Island allows for both distributed generation and net metering – so businesses can produce their own energy through a variety of ways, and get paid for putting some of it back into the grid.

New York also allows for net metering, and is promoting solar, among other technologies.