Wisconsin Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Innovates Its Way to Energy Efficiency

Blog Post | April 26, 2011 - 12:41 pm

Aerial View of Sheboygan Wastewater Treat-
ment Plant (Photo provided courtesy of
Sheboygan Regional WWTP)

In the latest ACEEE local policy case study, we examine how leadership, strategic planning, and innovative partnerships led the Sheboygan Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to become a national leader in energy efficiency in the water and wastewater treatment industry.

The Sheboygan WWTP has implemented numerous energy-saving measures, mostly by modernizing aging plant infrastructure with energy-efficient equipment and controls. Additionally, the plant partnered with a local electric utility to install a combined heat and power system (CHP) in which micro-turbines are powered by burning biogas produced as a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process. The results have been excellent: the plant now uses 20% less energy compared to a baseline figure in 2003 and ranges from 70 to 90% energy self-sufficient.

This case study has wide-ranging implications as water and wastewater systems can account for up to one-third of a municipality’s total energy bill (see EPA report). A local government can have immediate impact on its energy bill by targeting energy efficiency at its wastewater and water treatment facilities. These facilities can represent the largest portion of controllable energy usage and offer opportunities for cost-effective investments in energy-efficient technologies, freeing up taxpayer dollars for other uses.

For more information, on energy efficiency opportunities in water and wastewater treatment visit the ACEEE Local Toolkit page.  Also, learn about additional energy efficiency actions being taken by local communities across the country on the ACEEE Local Policy Case Studies page.