Efficiency has become intelligent. We’ve always known that waste is stupid and that efficiency is smart, but now, many energy measures can learn, adapt, and self-optimize. It’s called “intelligent efficiency,” and it’s going to transform how energy efficiency is provided, achieved, and measured. We’re so excited about its potential that we are hosting an entirely new conference on the subject in November.
EPA’s Clean Power Plan outlines four building blocks, each of which represent a category of measures that states can use to meet the first-ever federal regulation for reducing carbon dioxide from existing power plants.
Smart manufacturing, the integration of all facets of manufacturing through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), is set to transform the industrial sector and its use of energy, raw materials, and labor over the next twenty years. Everyone in a company will have the information they need to make informed, data-driven decisions in real-time. Executives will have will have a panoramic view of productivity and managers will have an in depth view of their production costs, including energy.
What is the true value of energy efficiency? Well, we all know that manufacturers use energy to meet their production goals. Energy is the lifeblood of the process and the business of manufacturing. Energy drives not just the machines, but also the pace and magnitude of the wealth created by manufacturers. Because it permeates every stage of the industrial process, energy provides ample opportunity to influence operating margins, returns on invested capital, productivity and product quality. Energy also performs concomitantly with safety and emissions compliance agendas.
The Industrial Energy Technology Conference (IETC) has announced that associate director for research R. Neal Elliott, PhD, PE, will receive a 2014 IETC Energy Award at its 36th annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 22. In making its selection, IETC cited Elliott’s leadership in promoting and fostering energy conservation on an international scale in industrial applications.
Energy service outsourcing is a business relationship that relieves a large facility from the potential distractions imposed by the ongoing management of one or more energy functions, such as steam, compressed air, water treatment, lighting, or other activities. In essence, a facility would transfer these functional duties to a vendor per a contractual agreement, subject to periodic renewal. The facilities that choose this route anticipate that their energy functions will be performed in a more reliable and cost-effective way by the vendor.
ACEEE and the Great Plains Institute (GPI) have teamed up to catalyze action in the Midwest in support of President Obama’s August 2012 executive order on industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP), which set a goal of adding 40 GW of new CHP by 2020.
Fast-Tracked Opt-Out Legislation Would Derail Indiana’s Successful Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Proposed legislation in Indiana (SB 340) would devastate the state’s very promising energy efficiency programs, which were created under order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in 2009. SB 340 would allow any customer of 1 MW demand or greater to immediately “opt out” of paying any rate charges to support energy efficiency programs. This would not only exclude industrial customers (which account for 47% of the load in Indiana), but many large commercial and institutional customers as well.
A Voluntary Performance Label for Industrial Equipment Is Bringing Together Manufacturers and Efficiency Experts
Most of us involved in energy efficiency have realized at one time or another that there are greater opportunities to save energy through system optimization than through improvements to the efficiency of an individual device. A good way to visualize this is to picture a well-designed pump driven by a high-efficiency motor pumping water through a mostly closed valve that not only wastes most of the electricity going into the motor, it causes backpressure on the pump that will cause it to wear out quicker.
Any serious effort to acquire energy savings from the manufacturing sector will need to address the needs of small and medium-sized manufacturers. While most industrial energy efficiency programs have first exploited efficiencies of scale by tackling the biggest energy users (quite sensibly), that approach overlooks about half of the manufacturing energy consumption in the United States.