Software Tackles Energy Management in Water, Wastewater Operations

Cities and municipalities are under increasing pressure to achieve sustainable water and wastewater operations while maintaining affordable rates, regulatory compliance and quality service.

Cities and municipalities are under increasing pressure to achieve sustainable water and wastewater operations while maintaining affordable rates, regulatory compliance and quality service. Because energy is the single largest controllable operating cost, appropriate energy management is crucial to achieving these goals.

A number of well known techniques are available to help minimize energy usage, such as the use of variable frequency drives (VFDs), shifting energy usage to off-peak hours, monitoring pump efficiencies and leveraging the most efficient equipment, etc. Tools and guides, such as EPA's Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities, are also readily available. However, the first step to a good energy management program is understanding the existing system and how energy is used within the operation.

To this purpose, Invensys Operations Management, an international company with a large installed base in the water and wastewater industry, recently introduced its Wonderware® Corporate Energy Management application (CEM). The application allows users to monitor energy and detect and notify personnel of energy inefficiencies. It connects directly to meters on a network, through industrial controllers, and accepts manual entry via the company's Wonderware InTouch® HMI and IntelaTrac™ mobile solutions. Application functionality includes recording consumption and demand at main and sub meters for a wide range of energy types including power, water, chill, gas, air and steam.

The application also associates production output to energy usage, providing the key performance indicators used in many sustainability programs. The increase of a pump's energy usage to provide the same flow could, for example, signal the need for equipment maintenance, the occurrence of some obstruction in a process or a number of other conditions requiring attention.

The Corporate Energy Management application can be installed in a matter of days, and pre-built reports give managers, supervisors and workers new visibility and information on how energy is used within the operation.

Clark County Water Reclamation District in Nevada is a long-time user of Invensys solutions. The district has been leveraging the knowledge and services of endorsed System Integrator DLT&V, and sees the Corporate Energy Management application as an opportunity to achieve a number of things including:

- The ability to distribute energy costs to cost centers for reporting and forecasting both for budgeting as well as savings purposes.

- The ability to determine the efficiency of similar equipment and to clearly identify their most efficient units.

- The ability to establish a baseline they can start from for energy savings and green initiatives.

- The ability to be notified when energy usage in a given process deviates from the expected values.

Bill Schiel, Industry Solution Manager for Invensys Operations Management, says, "CEM will also collect energy usage for configured events. For example, the plant automation will trigger CEM data collection when the plant goes into 'high flow' processing mode. Once the high-flow event ends, a report will show the power cost of processing. This will give the plant operations staff valuable information on how to optimize the processes to consume less energy and produce the same results."

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