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How to Leverage Energy Analytics at Wastewater Treatment Plants

Energy Analytics at Wastewater Treatment Plants

leverage energy analytics at wastewater treatment plantsMoving and processing water in the state of California is energy intensive. Some estimates place energy consumption associated with moving and processing water near 30% of all electrical energy consumption within the state.   The cost of this energy, especially at wastewater treatment plants, is a large part of total operational costs, following behind labor and chemicals. But, for most plants, electricity is simply an overhead cost. It's not associated to direct operations or production output. Why is that?

The answer is primarily the same reason most manufacturers do not track energy cost to production output… it’s very difficult.

Most electric utilities charge consumers based on some form of Time-of-Use (TOU) rate, usually with a component of demand charges or sometimes at three different times: peak, mid-peak and off-peak.  Trying to manually calculate how much electricity is costing a treatment plant on a real time basis is unrealistic.  And without it, operators have no visibility or guidance around energy cost throughout the day and cannot associate production activities directly to costs.  Most operators still use kiloWatt hours (kWh) tracked at the end of a billing cycle to estimate cost metrics. However, energy usage is a poor surrogate for energy cost.

Leverage Energy Analytics

Energy analytics creates a new reference for plant operators to visualize how electricity costs are associated with operations, how it changes throughout the day and gives instant feedback from efforts to reduce cost.  It combines real-time energy use, utility TOU tariffs and production output to present the results graphically.  A simple Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of energy $/MG ($ per million gallons), can guide plant operators to dramatic improvements in efficiency just by bringing costs into view as they occur.  Most plant operators have a keen ability to control operations and make small shifts which result in big savings while meeting operating constraints.  It’s been said many times, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.”  And without energy analytics, you can’t measure real energy costs.

If reducing energy costs are a priority for your business, PredictEnergy® Analytics can help you determine what to do next.