Is it possible to make energy upgrades to your water or wastewater treatment facility without being hampered by the inability to raise rates or undertake expensive capital improvements? Now it is. Energy Performance Contracting enables utilities seeking to reduce energy costs to use their cost savings to finance their installations and upgrades. As one of the greatest users of energy, water and wastewater plants now have a new, cost-effective option to lower power consumption and reduce their carbon footprint.
Cleaning Dirty Water Takes Serious Power
It’s no secret. Water and wastewater treatment plants can potentially use the largest amount of power within a city. As a result, utilities throughout the country are seeking ways to lower their power consumption that also benefit the environment. Unfortunately, in the boundaries of their financial reality, utilities are not able to undertake these expensive capital improvement projects, so they are forced to take alternative measures.
Finding Energy Cost Saving Opportunities
To avoid high capital costs, utilities will perform energy management audits and evaluations first to identify energy saving opportunities within their treatment plants. By assessing the facility energy usage before making an investment, the utility owner can decide which areas are worth upgrading and which will make little to no difference in their costs.
Many water and wastewater facilities can realize zero or low cost energy saving opportunities through managing their energy demand in coordination with the energy billing rates. This is especially true for facilities whose electric energy rate structures include peak demand ratcheting and time of use billing.
Pay for Upgrades with Savings
What if you could stabilize utility rates for the next 20 years, improve aged infrastructure and benefit the environment through a contract where your savings would cover the costs? This is potentially what energy performance contracting delivers.
Energy Performance Contracting is an innovative financing technique that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption to repay the cost of installing energy conservation measures. This financing technique allows facility owners to achieve energy savings without upfront capital expenses. The costs of the energy improvements are borne by the performance energy contractor and paid back out of the energy savings.
Energy Performance Contract Benefit: A Single Source Contractor
Along with receiving a financial guarantee of annual savings for the life of the energy performance contract, utilities also have the opportunity to use a single source design-build contractor to do necessary energy audits. Utilities are able to minimize confusion, maximize collaboration and promote innovation using one design-build entity. With this, many utility clients have saved millions and avoided any additional monthly outlay.
We understand, as utilities, you have much to do with little, but despite economic conditions, you now have another option to improve your facility. If you would like to discuss specific water energy issues within your facility, contact Bryan Bedell of Haskell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published on Haskell's InMotion Blog. See more at: http://www.haskell.com/Moving-Ahead/January-2014/Identifying-Energy-Solutions-that-Finance-Themselv