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Energy Management Pays Off: An Overview of Energy Management Planning Successes around the USA

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Overview of Energy Management Planning Work Around the Country: Over the last several years, EPA has made a national effort to address the issues of high energy use – and its resulting costs and environmental impacts – in the municipal water/wastewater sector. EPA released the guidebook to energy management planning, and implementation Ensuring a Sustainable Future, in 2007. 2008. The Guidebook is based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act management systems approach to help utilities make sustainable decisions to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. The agency's ENERGY STAR program added the ability to benchmark municipal wastewater treatment plants using its Portfolio Manager software the same year.

Based on the Guidebook, in 2008, the agency began hosting a series of energy management workshops in New England. to introduce utilities to the elements in the Guide. Also that year, the agency began collaborating with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an energy management roundtable pilot for 14 water and wastewater facilities. Building on the success of these efforts, seven EPA Regional offices, with support from the Office of Wastewater Management, have sponsored introductory over 20 introductory workshops with utilities based on the Guidebook and are now working closely with over 100 utilities around the country to help them develop energy management programs.

In 2009, ENERGY STAR upgraded its Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator to accommodate water and wastewater facilities. The calculator allows facility managers to quickly find out cumulative cost savings from efficiency and analyze the cost of borrowing vs. the cost of waiting for capital,.

In 2010, the agency released a new guidebook on Energy Conservation Measures for Wastewater Treatment Plants. The guidance looks at a broad array of emerging and innovative energy saving technologies applicable to the wastewater sector and contains a number of case studies at plants nationwide.

Descriptions of Selected Energy Management Planning Programs: With the success of the Massachusetts pilot and first roundtable and the release of additional tools from EPA and other entities, energy management planning for the water and wastewater industry is quickly becoming mainstream in many parts of the country. As evidence of this, roundtables and other work based on the Massachusetts pilot and roundtable series have been held in Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Additional roundtable series are in the planning stages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Each of the roundtable series has followed a slightly different model. They have varied from 4 half-day meetings to an ongoing series of meetings lasting almost 3 years. They have worked with a variety of partner groups in the electric and gas industries, the nonprofit energy efficiency community, state and local government, and private industry. They have been led by EPA, state agencies, or the utilities themselves. A brief description of the highlights of selected programs follows.

Massachusetts has formalized the energy management planning work into a statewide program. The program is a partnership between 3 state agencies and EPA and has benefited from the extensive cooperation of the state's electric and gas utilities. The program has goals of reaching every facility in the state with training, reducing energy use sector-wide by 25% in 5 years, increasing on-site renewable energy produced by a select group of facilities by 50%, and doubling the number of zero net energy facilities from 2 to 4 within 2 years. To date, the effort has reached more than 85 water and wastewater facilities with some level of training or technical assistance. Another roundtable series is set to launch in late summer 2011. Twenty-one Massachusetts facilities received American Resource and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds for energy projects totaling 68 million, with annual savings estimated at 3.7 million. Many other facilities have received energy audits and are implementing projects with financial assistance from energy efficiency funds.

In Rhode Island, the state's 19 wastewater facilities have been participating in a similar roundtable series since 2008, funded by an EPA State Innovations Grant to the Narragansett Bay Commission, the state's largest clean water agency. The facilities have received in-depth training, benchmarking support, and subsidized energy audits. In March, 2010, the Warwick and West Warwick wastewater treatment facilities were severely damaged by historic flooding. EPA collaborated with state agencies and the facility managers to investigate the potential for rebuilding the two facilities in a more energy-efficient manner. The RI Department of Energy Resources was able to use 3.1 million in ARRA funds to fund improvements at the two damaged facilities, as well as audits and other projects at the other wastewater facilities in the state. Each of the 2 facilities expects to save 150,000 annually in energy costs as a result of this work.

In Missouri, EPA Region 7 held a series of roundtables in conjunction with the state Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri University of Science and Technology, with technical assistance from Siemens. Eight water and facilities participated. The facilities received energy audits, energy management planning training, and participated in a series of workshops. Facilities implemented a variety of projects including aeration upgrades, automated meter reading, and pumping upgrades. Several of the facilities received ARRA funding for their energy projects. The state's energy efficiency program, Energize Missouri, also designated 10 million in low interest loans for energy efficiency projects in water and wastewater facilities.

Conclusion Many opportunities exist in the drinking water and wastewater sector for improved energy management. Energy improvements can save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also optimizing operations and improving compliance. This sector is receptive to reducing energy consumption and costs and is open to on-site energy generation. Facilities have a wide variety of low-cost operational changes and more expensive capital projects to choose from when considering energy projects.

Partnerships between federal and state agencies and energy providers across the country have been fruitful, resulting in dozens of facilities receiving training, technical assistance, and funds from a variety of sources. The biggest insight has been that peer exchange in this sector is particularly effective when coupled with assistance from regulatory agencies and energy utilities, providing a low-cost way to drive large amounts of energy efficiency gains in an energy intensive industry.
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Keywords: ARRA; Efficiency; Energy management; Partnerships; Planning; Renewables; stimulus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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