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Dow Reduces Energy Intensity 38%

Dow Chemical reduced the energy intensity of its production efforts by 38 percent between 1990 and 2009, according to a recent statement by the company. Dow plans to increase energy efficiency by an additional 25 percent by 2015, it said, and is directing “significant portions” of its research and development budget toward energy efficiency initiatives.

Dow published its Energy Plan for America recently, in which it detailed its success in reducing its energy consumption and laid out recommendations for U.S. policies on energy efficiency and production. The company recommended that the U.S. aggressively pursue energy efficiency and conservation; increase, diversify and optimize domestic hydrocarbon energy and feedstock supplies; accelerate development of alternative and renewable energy and feedstock sources; and transition to a low carbon economy.

The company said it expects global energy use will rise 70 percent by 2050 with major increases seen across the building, transportation and industrial sectors. Meanwhile U.S., energy consumption will grow an estimated 14 percent by 2035, with fossil fuels providing 78 percent of all energy.

In order to deal with the expected increase in energy demand, Dow said it recommends a combination of federal financial incentives, low interest loan programs and energy efficiency building codes to provide large-scale savings and improve the country’s building stock, while promoting the use of tools and incentives to assist manufacturers to implement energy efficiency measures.

The document also supports the increased production of natural gas from unconventional sources, such as shale gas. It also recommended against a carbon tax, which would increase demand for natural gas as energy suppliers became incentivized to switch from coal-fired plants to less carbon-intensive natural gas plants.

”As recently as the 1990’s the Clean Air Act drove significant demand for natural gas while at the same time Congress and predecessor administrations systematically increased restrictions on access both on and off shore. As a result, natural gas prices went up over 400% and more than a million good manufacturing jobs left the U.S.,” according to the document.

Dow also voiced its support for revising government incentives for emerging renewable energy technologies, along with the use of biofuels and nuclear power. It recommended a strong commitment from the U.S. government to reduce carbon emissions in order to send a strong signal to the market that would increase willingness to invest in new energy technologies.

Recently, the company said it expects a new technology for making Styrofoam products to help reduce its emissions, and used a variety of efforts to save a billion gallons of water at its Freeport, Texas, site.

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