Thursday, January 18, 2007

An Industrial Energy Program Breakthrough?

Workshops have historically been the format of choice for promoting industrial energy efficiency. Utilities and government sponsors usually promote workshops as a one-day agenda for a technical audience, focusing on motor drives, pumps, steam, compressed air, combustion, and other distinct energy systems. Responding facilities send a couple of maintenance or engineering staff to attend, where they often pick up superb technical information. However, because the workshops focus on specific hardware, they are actually promoting isolated project activity. Who promotes strategies for continuous energy improvement? This is a crucial question, because without a durable energy management strategy, the facility engineer is forced to justify projects one at a time, running a gauntlet of skeptical review by procurement, finance and operations people. This is an exhausting process that explains the partial and intermittent implementation of energy-saving improvements.

Southern California Edison
(SCE) is using an alternative approach for industrial outreach with their Sustainable Energy Efficiency (SEED) program. Recognizing industrial managers’ increasing familiarity with management systems to address safety, environmental, and waste control risks, the SEED program applies these same management concepts to energy. SCE uses a consultative format designed and conducted by EnVINTA corporation. This approach challenges industrial facilities to develop internal policies, procedures, and performance benchmarks for continuous energy improvement. According to Fabian Biagetti, EnVINTA’s VP of operations, utilities are already accustomed to enlisting specialists to boost industrial customers’ awareness of efficiencies in specific technologies. SCE now takes this concept one step further in having a specialist that helps those customers to devise energy management strategies.

Instead of inviting personnel to an off-site workshop, the SEED program effectively brings the workshop into individual facilities. A one-day agenda begins with an assembly of the site management team for a 90-minute analysis of current business energy practices. This is immediately followed by a walk-through of the site to compare and validate the findings from the opening discussion. This is also an opportunity for the SEED program analysts to identify potential physical energy improvement opportunities. At the end of the day, the SEED staff reconvenes with site management to develop an Energy Improvement Action Plan, which includes (1) a benchmarking of energy-related business practices, and (2) a “roadmap” for organizing the milestones, timeline, resources, and accountabilities for pursuing the top five energy improvement opportunities. These first-day results are immediately available on the spot, thanks to a lap-top computer software template, developed by Chandan Rao of Graphet, Inc. Consultative support can be offered later, to help facility managers in developing energy-efficient procedures and criteria for operations, maintenance, and equipment procurement. SCE hopes to reproduce in their service territory the 60 to 70 percent implementation rates that Graphet and EnVinta have achieved elsewhere with this strategy.

This approach helps all facility decision-makers to understand and support energy management concepts. This is a hurdle that traditional, offsite workshops could never achieve. EnVINTA’s Biagetti assures site managers that they “don’t need to be technical—they just need to understand business processes.”



At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Rådgivende ingeniørfirma said...

This is a great breakthrough in an Industrial Energy. So, if the Industrial Energy program can help why not, because this the best to start all over again. Thanks.


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