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Enabling Pennsylvania American Water to achieve greater energy efficiencies with water infrastructure improvements

Background

Pennsylvania American Water was planning to invest over $100 million in infrastructure updates to improve its Pittsburgh area water system, upgrading facilities that supply drinking water to approximately 500,000 people. Many of the water facilities, originally constructed over 100 years ago, had reached the end of their useful lives, were not in compliance with EPA regulatory requirements and did not meet the company’s service reliability and process efficiency standards. As a large electric customer of Duquesne Light Company, the Duquesne energy efficiency manager was interested in helping Pennsylvania American Water develop energy saving projects and asked MCR to help.

Solution

We worked with Duquesne Light Company and the customer to develop a project at a major pumping station and water treatment facility. The plan included installing new high efficiency motors with VFDs and controls that matched run hours and speeds to operational needs. The goal of the project was to help upgrade Pennsylvania American Water’s infrastructure and produce substantial energy savings.

Results

The project was completed on time and on budget; and it delivered a significant annual reduction (5.4 million kWh – 12.5%) in the amount of energy required to deliver a unit of water. The project benefits substantially exceeded the cost of the upgrades and the company was able to offset over 30% of the project cost with energy efficiency incentives from the local electric utility.