May 17, 2020

Manufacturers in US Department of Energy’s better plants program save over $2 billion

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Manufacturers in US Department of Energy’s better plants program save over $2 billion
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Today, as the USDepartment of Energy prepares to kick off Octobers National Energy Action Month, the department anno...

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Today, as the US Department of Energy prepares to kick off October’s National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years. Across America, manufacturers spend more than $200 billion each year to power their plants. As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to double energy productivity, American manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies made a voluntary commitment to improve energy intensity by about 25 percent over ten years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector, through the Better Plants Program. Today, the department also announced that nine partners have met their energy efficiency targets this year.

Over the last year, 21 new industrial partners joined the Better Plants program, including 12 water and wastewater treatment agencies — part of a strategic expansion to increase energy efficiency across the nation’s water infrastructure. Close to 160 industrial organizations representing more than 2,400 facilities are partnering with the Energy Department through Better Plants. Together, these partners consume about 2.2 quadrillion BTUs of energy, which is approximately 11.4 percent of the U.S. manufacturing sector’s total use, or about the same as the state of Tennessee’s annual energy consumption.

“When companies save energy, they also save money and reduce harmful carbon pollution,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where energy costs are often a significant contributor to total operating costs. Manufacturers participating in the Better Plants program, including our new partners in the water and wastewater treatment sector, are leading the way in showing how energy efficiency is a smart business strategy, as well as a smart conservation strategy that will help to protect our environment for future generations.”

Better Plants expanded this year to begin working with water and wastewater treatment agencies to improve their energy efficiency by 25 percent over ten years.  This sector faces high energy costs, as significant amounts of energy are required to pump, treat, and distribute water. Included among the 12 new water and wastewater treatment partners are two of the nation’s largest and most complex water systems — those servicing the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

Over the last five years, Better Plants partners have maintained an average annual energy intensity improvement rate of about 2.1 percent, well above projected business-as-usual rates for U.S. industry as a whole. This has resulted in cumulative energy savings of more than 450 trillion BTUs, saving an estimated $2.4 billion in cost and avoiding nearly 27 million metric tons of climate-changing carbon emissions, equivalent to a year’s worth of emissions from seven coal-fired power plants. 

The Energy Department is also recognizing the nine partners that met their energy savings goals through Better Plants this year. They join the 16 other U.S. manufacturers that met their goals in previous years. The most recent goal-achievers are:

  • 3M, a diversified manufacturer based in St. Paul, MN.
  • Bentley Mills, a California-based carpet manufacturer.
  • Harbec, a custom injection molder and component part manufacturer located in Upstate New York.
  • Ingersoll Rand, a maker of industrial equipment, based in Davidson, NC.
  • Johnson & Johnson, a leading health-care company, based in New Brunswick, NJ.
  • Roche Diagnostics, a health care diagnostic equipment manufacturer, based in Indianapolis, IN.
  • Shaw Industries Group, Inc., a manufacturer of carpet, hardwood and other flooring products, based in Dalton, GA.
  • Volvo Group North America, which makes trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine engines, and is based in Greensboro, NC.
  • Weyerhaeuser Wood Products, a forest products company based in Federal Way, WA.

 

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is part of President Obama’s broader Better Buildings Initiative, which drives American commercial and industrial buildings to become at least 20 percent more energy efficient over the next 10 years. The Initiative also includes the Better Buildings Challenge through which U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multifamily housing owners, and state and local governments have committed to reducing energy use across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more.

The accomplishments announced today are summarized in the Energy Department’s Fall 2015 Better Plants Progress Update, released today and available HERE.

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May 17, 2021

Suez Canal expansion plans greenlit by Egyptian president

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Work to begin on two-year project that will enlarge narrow sections and extend second lane near the Suez Canal’s southern stretch

The Suez Canal is to undergo a two-year expansion project, following the weeklong closure of the channel by the stranded Ever Given container ship in March.

Plans set forth to expand narrow sections of the Suez Canal have been greenlit by the Egyptian president to safeguard against future blockages.

Dredgers will widen and deepen the single-lane stretch close to the southern mouth of the canal, near where the 400m container ship got wedged earlier this year, while a second lane opened in 2015 will be extended to promote two-way traffic and alleviate the impact of bottlenecks. 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the order to “immediately start implementing the proposed development plan and put in place a timetable for completion as soon as possible”, according to reports. It is understood he expects the work to be fully completed within two years. 

Ever Given negotiations rage on 

The Ever Given left hundreds of ships stranded and disrupted an estimated $9.5bn in goods each day when it became wedged across a narrow passage of the trade route in March. After a week of dredging, towing and manoeuvring, it was eventually freed from the banks of the Suez Canal in the early hours of 29 March and set course of the Bitter Lakes holding area. 

There the vessel, its crew and its cargo have remained ever since, while legal action between Egyptian authorities and the ship’s owners rages on, though SCA chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, refutes allegations that crew have been detained. 

“[There] is no truth in the allegations of detaining the ship crew, pointing to that the SCA does not mind the departure or recrew operations provided the presence of the sufficient number of sailors to secure the vessel and in the light of the presence of the ship captain as he stands as the juridical guardian of the ship and the cargo aboard,” Rabie said in a statement

The SCA initially sought $916m in compensation to cover refloatation costs, including repairs where the channel was damaged to move the vessel, bonuses for the rescue crews who worked throughout the jam, and a package for “loss of reputation”. 

Now the SCA and its chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, have agreed to reduce the bill by a third. The authority has reportedly offered payment terms for the $600m to the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen. Shoei Kisen has also declared a general average on the goods on board, with shippers liable to shoulder a significant outlay to get the 18,000-plus containers aboard to their final destination in the Nertherlands. 

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